In defence of the BLMC

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Sir,

Your September issue seems full of vigour and outrage directed at British Leyland from yourself, H.G.W. and your correspondent, Mr. Disley.

As someone who earns his living by promoting the sales of BLMC cars in the West Country, may I offer my comments?

First. Have you, Mr. Boddy, spoken or written to Lord Stokes direct about your problems of obtaining test cars? He is quite a reasonable chap and probably, like ourselves, acts very quickly on receipt of a genuine complaint.

Second. Mr. Disley, BLMC don’t make all parts for all their cars—the vast majority of their loss of production of vehicles this past year has been due to strikes at component manufacturers. Obviously as well as making cars this seriously affects their stocks of components available for supplying their distributors. The majority of private motorists are busily engaged in screwing their local garages for the last pound in part-exchange, or taking maximum credit for petrol, service, etc., thus the profits of many businesses are atrociously low. In turn, the garage owner, however small or large, must cut down his capital investment in slow-moving parts stock.

Third, throughout our group we are frequently taking foreign cars in part-exchange against new BLMC cars. In turn, we recondition them and become parts customers ourselves. I assure you we have had delays running into months on parts for NSU and Alfa Romeo, to mention just two makes. All manufacturers do have parts problems. Fourth, you pay your money and take your choice, but before you put down your money for a foreign car remember that one day you’ll want to trade it in—maybe against a new British car! So to help your readers I show the following comparisons of depreciation over a two-year period as per September valuations:

Foreign
Model

Fiat 124 ……………….1968 cost £828, Depreciation £293 (37%)

VW 1300 …………….. 1968 cost £747, Depreciation £297 (39%)

BMW 1800 ………….. 1968 cost £1,597, Depreciation £707 (44%)

Alfa 1750 …………….. 1968 cost £1,898, Depreciation £748 (39%)

Volvo 1800 …………… 1968 cost £1,919, Depreciation £674 (35%)

British
Model

Triumph 1300 ……….. 1968 cost £868, Depreciation £248 (29%)

Morris 2-dr. 1300 …… 1968 cost £724, Depreciation £244 (34%)

Wolseley 18/85 ……… 1968 cost £1,082, Depreciation £417 (38.5%)

Rover 2000 …………… 1968 cost £1,472, Depreciation £522 (35.5%)

MG-B GT ……………… 1968 cost £1,153, Depreciation £293 (26%)

So, the implication is clear, your foreign car, in most cases costs you more initially than its British counterpart, it costs you more in depreciation and you may well find that economically, once you are a –––––––––– owner, you are always a –––––––––– owner! (But probably not by choice.)

Having given my comments, I hope that I have put the case of British and Foreign in its correct perspective. We welcome foreign competition–it will serve only to make British cars better. I wonder why all those hundreds of thousands of people in Europe buy these strange, expensive, unreliable British cars? Perhaps because they’re a better buy than the European makes?

D.J. BURKE – Plymouth

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