Wednesday, 18 February 2009

The crashing UK car industry

The Brown downturn is about to waste the UK car industry.

Lets face it; we were never much good at making cars.


Anonymous said...

AC: "Lets face it; we were never much good at making cars"


I think I disagree. What finished the British car industry was not so much that the british could not make cars, rather that the government refused to keep its meddling fingers away from the industry.

After the war, we have a pretty diverse automotive industry. The governments decision to nationalize the lot and turn it into British Leyland was what did for the industry.

Some of the industry should have died sixty years ago, some would have survived. Some might have even been going today - who knows. The one commonality was government interference and perpetual reorginization.

The government has no idea how to run a automotive industry, no more than it has any idea how to run a banking industry.

Anonymous said...

We made rotten motorbikes and rotten cars - except perhaps for the Rolls and the Landrover. The British worker had many merits, no doubt, but few of them were work-related. Consequently, few people of ability fancied a career in managing labour-intensive British manufacturing companies. All very sad.

DBC Reed said...

@anonymous said
British business as a whole was convinced of the benefits of centralisation and amalgamation.When Charles Clore wanted to form the British Shoe Corporation from the smallish Northampton companies such as Sears, this was seen as progress and was enthusiastically supported by the then Board of Trade. But this "progress" involved Clore's creation of the concepts of private equity takeovers and sale and lease back both of which he pioneered and used extenively.So it was n't just British Leyland that got shoved together and it was n't all socialist inspired.As with making cars , it is the outriders who did n't get caught up in the BSC which have carried on to prosper: Church's ;Crocket and Jones though these are niche (really really expensive) producers.
As for the whole question of producing cars, you have a choice.
Either you expand the money supply and push the money out through high wages some of which may not be fully earned or you push the money/credit out through the housing market ..and we have come to the end of that bright Tory idea
with the total collapse of the world system.

Anonymous said...

We actually have made some very good cars over the years and we have some of the best automotive engineers in the world. That's why all Formula 1 teams are based in the UK and most racing car engines are made here.

The problem was never the engineering - it was inept management & government interference by Public School/Oxbridge twats with no technical education. Contrast & compare with Germany & Japan. And weep.

Anonymous said...

ALL Formula 1 teams are based in the UK? When did that happen? Ferrari moved from Italy, Toyota moved from Germany...

And it was nationalisation that killed the motor industry? The companies combined into BL were finished - nothing could have saved them. BL gave them a last chance, but that wasn't taken advantage of.

The demise of the British car industry has a lot more to do with an unwillingness to change outdated designs when manufacturers in the rest of the world were streaking ahead with more modern, more reliable, and more attractive cars at better prices.

There will always be scope for the small niche market car maker, but none of them will ever mix with the big players again unless a reasonably well sized manufacturer (of at least Vauxhall size) can become independent AND start to develop cars that are better than their competitors. It can be done (some other manufacturers elsewhere have done it over the years), but reinventing a company (or industry) takes skill, flare and determination.

It's possible to bring all three together, and it might even be possible to find the necessary finance (even from government sources), but whether it is likely is a different question.

Who has the drive and skill to do it?