Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Car and commercial vehicle manufacturers.

Chronology -

1977 British Leyland Motor Holdings became BL[1] Michael Edwardes was appointed group Chief Executive.

1978 The main divisions were reorganised as[2]:

1978 Until he could find a permanent appointee, Michael Edwardes temporarily also took charge of BL Cars, the subsidiary holding the 3 car-subsidiaries[3]. The Truck and Bus activity was put into a new company Leyland Vehicles[4].

Within 5 months of Edwardes' appointment, 12 senior executives had left the group[5]

The MG operation was moved from Austin Morris to Jaguar Rover Triumph, which was thought to be a better fit[6]

1980 Launched the Austin Mini-Metro. This later developed in to the Rover 100 and continued in production until 1997

1980 Austin Morris employed 41,000 people; Jaguar Rover Triumph employed 36,000; BL Components employed 40,000; BL Commercial Vehicles employed 38,000; SP Industries employed 7,000; others and HQ employed 2,000; in total 164,000[7]

Tie up with Honda and launched versions of the Ballade as the Triumph Acclaim and then as the Rover 213/216

1981 The Austin Rover Group was formed as the mass-market car manufacturing subsidiary of BL. It was the result of a comprehensive restructuring programme intended to rescue BL from almost-certain oblivion.[8]

1981 David Abell, MD of BL Commercial Vehicles division, resigned from the company to devote his time to his interests in Suter Electrical which was negotiating with Leyland Vehicles for the purchase of Prestcold which BL had been trying to sell for 2 years[9].

1981 May: BL announced they were going ahead with a £21 million plan to radically improve product engineering facilities within the Austin Morris and Rover Triumph light medium car groups by 1983.[10]

1981 June: BL tried out Volkswagen gearbox in Metro.[11]

1982 The 4 main division of the company were[12]:

1982 April: The Solihull Rover factory became redundant to the company when the recent death of the TR7 sports car sealed the factory's fate. It was deemed 'unsaleable' by industrial estate agents.[13]

1982 When Michael Edwardes left BL, the car and truck divisions were put in the hands of separate executives - David R. G. Andrews was appointed chief executive of Land Rover-Leyland and Ray Horrocks was head of BL Cars[14] They reported to the non-exec chairman Austin Bide

1983 Austin Rover Group and Leyland Vehicles, the bus and truck division, were both loss making; the other divisions of BL Cars, Jaguar and Unipart, were profitable[15]

1983 Aveling-Barford was privatised

1984 Jaguar was sold

1986 As part of the privatisation of BL, trade buyers were sought for Land Rover-Leyland except for Leyland Bus which would be sold separately[16].

1986 Graham Day took over at the company. He split the group into 6 divisions - including Land Rover, Freight Rover and Leyland Trucks[17]. The name of the company was changed to Rover Group[18] with the eventual aim of privatising the group.

1987 The Austin name would be dropped from the cars at a near date[19]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, November 11, 1996
  2. The Times, Feb 02, 1978
  3. The Times, Feb 21, 1978
  4. The Times, Jul 11, 1978
  5. The Times, Apr 18, 1978
  6. The Times, Sep 20, 1978
  7. The Times, Feb 14, 1980
  8. Wikipedia
  9. The Times, 17 January 1981
  10. The Engineer 1981/05/28
  11. The Engineer 1981/06/18
  12. The Times, May 11, 1982
  13. The Engineer 1982/04/22
  14. The Times, Sep 01, 1982
  15. The Times , Apr 28, 1983
  16. Cabinet Office memo 24 March 1986
  17. The Times, September 26, 1986
  18. The Times, July 08, 1986
  19. The Times August 03, 1987