Archive : The affair of the missing Jaguars
On this day…
The Times, 1 May 1970 reported that delays for Jaguar XJ6s were so intolerable, Swiss buyers came to London and took matters into their own hands…
Impatient at delays in delivery of Jaguar’s highly successful XJ6 model (above), a party of Swiss businessmen clients staged a demonstration outside BLMC’s Berkeley Square showrooms in Mayfair yesterday. As demonstrations go these days it was a peaceful affair.
The score or so of smartly dressed bankers and industrialists, who had each paid 500 Swiss francs for the day return flight from Zurich. marched slowly round the square with their banners (in red and white -the ‘Swiss national colours). ‘We give you Swiss francs – give us Jaguars’
And, ‘Does British Leyland discriminate against Switzerland’ read the banners. Other demonstrators carried placards, ‘I am waiting now 14 months for my XJ6,’ said one. Three police officers, curious as to what was going on, were assured that no sinister motives lay behind the demonstration. and left with a warning on the consequences of obstructing passers by.
While the officers were busy satisfying their curiosity, two members of the party, following accepted demo protocol, paid an , impromptu call on BLMC’s chairman Lord Stokes and handed over a protest note.
‘In no other country is the delivery situation as chaotic in Switzerland,’ said the note. ‘How did we deserve this? Does British Leyland discriminate against Switzerland? We hope not, and we are confident that your Lordship will help us.’
Obviously impressed by the demonstrators’ genuine concern, a smiling Lord Stokes left his office to meet each of the protesters. ‘This is the sort of demonstration we like the most, it shows people want our products,’ he told them. Every effort would be made to speed up delivery, he said.
Lord Stokes. who entertained the enterprising demonstrators to lunch, was unable to be more specific. Strikes permitting, the Swiss may not have to wait much longer for their XJ6s.