British Workmanship

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Sir,

I extend my sincere sympathies to Mr. H. W. I. Hanan. At the beginning of January this year I bought a Ford New Anglia; I believe the basic design of the car to be good, although the steering geometry is rather peculiar and I personally dislike a “cart ” rear axle.

This “most exciting light car” certainly was exciting! But in the wrong way! The rear bumper went rusty in eight weeks, part of the body (revealed when the door opens) also began to rust, the back axle was noisy, the camshaft had to be replaced at 2,000 miles . . . and so on. In disgust, I sold the car for a new VW, which I intend to keep until the new Ford ” Consulette “—or whatever it may be called—appears.

I understand from a “very reliable source” that the number of inspectors on the production line at Fords has been increased threefold for this model. And also it seems that any foreman who lets faulty assembly occur is being demoted to the line . . . I wonder if this is true ? Perhaps I was unfortunate enough to buy a “bad ‘un ” but quite a number of people seem to have had the same experience. Not very helpful service from my local agent did not improve matters, either. The standard of inspection on British cars seems to be rather low, to put it mildly, but with increasing competition from the Common Market countries we surely must offer a well-engineered and well-finished product. Even the bitterest opponent of the VW admits that the finish is superb and as good as some British cars in the £2,000 class. We have the engineers, the technical capabilities, so why cannot we produce a really reliable article ?

The General Motors Opel range is another example of a well-finished motor car—it’s sister range of Vauxhalls in England could hardly be classed with them.

Is it possible that labour relations are at the bottom of the trouble ? Jaguar turn out a superb machine and everyone there appears to take a real pride in the workmanship, for the cars are generally faultless.

With the position worsening as far as competition goes in Europe, and with the threat of massive American combines such as Ford and General Motors exporting their ” compacts” and smaller ” compact-compacts,” I suggest it is time that the executives in the British Motor Industry really begin to face facts.

The rumours from Ford suggest that they are indeed doing this and it is time that B.M.C. started to do the same.

I await the new, better-finished, trebly-inspected Ford with interest—if I am not too attached to my ” beetle,” and if the finish of the new car, both outside and in, is equal, I shall buy one.

Despite criticisms, I agree that your magazine is impartial, and note with interest that the forecasts of a number of years ago have come true. Carry on the good work, Mr. Editor, and praise a good British product (as you do—re Minis) when one appears.

                                                                                                                                           I am, Yours, etc.,

Danbury.                                                                                                                                      P. C. D. BAKER.

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