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British Leyland: Chronicle of a Car Crash 1968-1978 Kindle Edition
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|Length: 201 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
The author traces the Via Dolorosa taken by this one-time giant of British manufacturing whose products could be once found on streets from San Francisco around the world to Auckland. As a ex-car executive, the author conducts a 360-degree dissection of the causes of this company's demise and since these factors cut across organisational functions and span varying time periods means no easy chronological sequencing is possible. This did not bother me as I've spent many years as a business doctor and could follow the themes and integrate them without difficulty.
What I liked:
1. The interplay of cause and effect was very well developed. The story is filled with facepalm moments [e.g. the Marina - a great car for 1966 to take on the Mk 2 Cortina, but not in 1972] and "What were they thinking?" inept decision making [e.g. putting into production the truly awful Maxi and abjectly failing to rationalize the ridiculous over-lapping, sales-cannibalizing product ranges]. This is indeed a key work in the field of economic history and management - and I loved it for that.
2. The book provides an on-going series of leadership, general management, design engineering, business strategy and marketing case studies.Read more ›
The plus points of this book are clear. The author is very knowledgeable of the car industry and this time in history. He describes well the perfect storm that engulfed British Leyland during this period. Many people would blame the unions, others the incompetence of the management (Yes, Mr Clarkson, I mean you.), which are easy targets. Far more impressively, the author looks at the government's involvement and also the prevailing climate of swinging currency rates, the effects of joining the EEC and not protecting the home industry from Japanese imports.
The negative points are that he repeats himself continually. I appreciate that he looks at the business from various perspectives: timescale, each constituent company, overseas factories and markets, and so forth. However, because of the way that the book is structured, repetition is inevitable. And this, I believe, is where the book fails. Had the author took a strictly chronological order and interwoven the events and divisions into that, the repetition would have been considerably reduced and the book would have been eminently more readable by a wider audience. As it is, many people would be deterred from completing this book, which is a great pity, as it describes the history of BL accurately and deserves a wider audience.
The summary of the book speaks for itself if you need to know the period covered and the author's process, but I can tell you it is definitely very well and clearly written, with an adequate use of pictures for those not entirely familiar with the different models.
Car enthusiasts need more books like this one, that go beyond a manufacturer's official publications while going enough into details to keep even the specialists interested. Actually, lots of brands deserve the kind of care and attention the author gave British-Leyland for this book!
The large number of makes and models were huge for the size of the home market so it was "export or bust" Some brands like Jaguar were strong in the USA but others were quite week and could not survive post war. The book follows what decisions were taken buy sucessive managements both good and terrible.
During all of the post ww2 adjustments the trade unions were getting stronger and very demanding with strikes holding up production worth millions of pounds in mainly export earnings. The book also charts the other players ie; Ford, Vauxhall (GM) Opel, Hillman/Chrysler not to forget the European makes ie Renault (a big player) BMW, Mercedes, Fiat etc
The industrial climate forced Vauxhall and Ford to set up shop in europe where they could make cars at a profit with no shop floor strikes and stoppages.
In the middle of all this enter the Japanese invasion, these companies set up early joint ventures is Rover and Honda to get a foothold in england and europe
This book also listed the building of vehicles in other commonwealth countries and the demise of these operations.
This book is well worth reading for a car person to read, a really well written piece of history, take the time to read
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Even though I am on the wrong side of the pond I have always enjoyed quite a few things British. The collapse of the UK auto industry is what it is and I, esp being an American,... Read morePublished 4 months ago by steve
It describes a porridge with its own porridge way of writing, which tasts like porridge. Not exciting.The author doesn't dare to have opinions himself either.Published 4 months ago by max pehrson
A fascinating history, not only of carmakers and their troubles in that era but consequently a social and political overview also of a troubled time in England. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
I did not really know the story of British Leyland. This book is a fantastic overview of the story from 1968 until the very end. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Dean Trombetta
The reason BL failed was the same reason all things fail. When you have a large group of single men, you have war and destruction. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Nevada Bob
Interesting to see that there was plenty of blame to go around for all parties.Published 15 months ago by Magnut
This was a well written researched book which takes the reader through the trials and tribulations of a company in terminal decline. Read morePublished 19 months ago by SteveBrown