Around the World
At the absolute zenith of BMC>MGR’s career, in 1968, the manufacturing group maintained 60 factories in the UK and 66 overseas, and foreign production amounted to 340,000 vehicles per year. Indigenous manufacture and partial manufacture took place in Australia, Belgium, Chile, Denmark, Ireland, India, Iran, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, South and Central Africa, Spain and Turkey.
Here is are country-by country breakdown of the most important markets, with a few that you’d never have thought of thrown in for good measure.
Overseas Operations Below is a list of the operations managed by British Leyland International during the early 1970s. I have included the autonomous distribution companies, CKD operations, and associated manufacturers. If you know of any not included or can provide further information on any of the below, please contact us with any information you might […]
Updated: There was an operation to build Maestros in Bulgaria, and we have the full and exclusive story of how it came together. Thanks to ex-Rover Group and BAe executives, we have been able to piece together the story of the Roadacar assembly operation in Bulgaria and conclude why it failed in the way it did.
Malta – that beautiful enclave in the Mediterranean is a favourite for tourists all over Europe. However, unbeknown to many, it was also host to an assembly operation which was home to the construction of Triumphs and Morrises among others. Christopher Camilleri takes up the story, with additional images from Andreas Lampka… Carmaking was late coming to Malta […]
Keith Adams A rare, South African-specification, CKD-built Rover 2600 SDX has been offered on eBay. The car, which was built in Leyland South Africa‘s Blackheath plant, is freshly imported and ready to go. It’s a Midas Gold example and was registered in 1980 – it differs from the UK version by being powered by the stretched […]
A little-known incursion by BMC under the marque Austin into the South American continent was the assembly of Austin commercial vehicles and Gipsy off road cars in a factory near Bogotá, in Colombia, in the early 1960s. This is the story, as told by Graham Arnold. The Austin Motor Company in Colombia A very short-lived […]
Chile’s BMC operation remained a specialist small-scale facility throughout its lifetime. However, what marked out Chilean Minis and ADO16s from their counterparts from across the globe was that they were produced in fibreglass… Story told by Rodrigo Toledo. BMC in Chile: A potted history The World Cup football competition was held in Chile in 1962. […]
Final assembly of CKD Austin 1300s began at a plant in Novo Mesto during 1969, with the cars arriving from Longbridge almost complete; indeed, the chassis plates of these models identified them as having come from Longbridge Yugoslav 1100s IN 1967 in Novo Mesto, Slovenia, IMV (Industrija Motornih Vozil – Industry of Motor Vehicles) signed […]
The Netherlands saw CKD production of BMC cars, alongside the usual versions imported from the UK and Belgium… Roderik Tonen tells the story. IN 1949 the Dutch Morris importer, J.J. Molenaar, started local assembly the Morris Minor, Morris Isis and Morris Oxford. The operation proved to be something of a success and, by 1959, assembly […]
Ireland was an interesting market for BMC>Rover as, for a short while, not only were they importers, but they were a CKD assembly operation. Andrew Ryan takes up the story… The spares and service depot of Standard Triumph (Ireland) Ltd, in the mid-Sixties. Austin & Morris had two separate importers/assemblers. For Austin, there was Lincoln […]
As was the case in the UK, many export markets suffered badly during the 1960s and 1970s. Denmark is a case in point, where the growth and success of the early 1960s gave way to tragedy in later years. Former BMC/BL dealer Erik Løye explains how it all went wrong… “From BMC to Rover” in […]
The Chilean BL operation was the first attempt to produce the Mini in South America, but by no means was it the last… Story told by Rodrigo Toledo. The ‘Brick’ moves to Venezuela… AT the time that BMC and British Leyland were building cars in Chile, Venezuela was, by far, the most developed country in […]
Prompted by Spanish Government initiatives to promote industrialisation, Rover and BMC independently embarked on Spanish ventures. Authi A couple of years before the merger that would bring Rover and BMH into the same fold, BMC established its own Spanish arm, known as Authi. This page describes the various ADO16-based models they produced, and also contains […]
Like Sipani in India, Autocars Co Ltd was set up with the help of Reliant, built a range of fibreglass-bodied cars of dubious quality, and would later become involved with the BMC>Rover empire. However, that involvement would produce some rather more interesting machinery than a CKD Montego… A potted history Founded in the mid-1950s with […]
The history of BMC>Rover is certainly not limited to the UK and, at the height of the post-war years of the ‘Empire’, there were production facilities all over the world. Ian Walker comprehensively charts the history of one such operation: the New Zealand market. Rover down under… Up to 1930: Early days Austin The Austin […]
British car production in South Africa following the end of the Second World War initially amounted to CKD (Completely Knocked Down) production of Austins and Standard Vanguards by local producers. Morris entered the fray in 1948, with the first imported Minors. This was a small beginning, but because of the growth of the South African […]
After the formation of BMC, Australia became an increasingly important market for the company, with models imported from the UK giving way firstly to local assembly of CKD (completely knocked down) kits, and later full assembly of models either adapted or specifically developed for the local market. Minis and 1100s lined up outside BMC’s 63-acre […]
Briefly popular in Argentina and an iconic addition to the scenery of Buenos Aires, the Siam di Tella story is another of those BMC defeats-from-failure that litters the 1950s and 1960s… Words: Federico Raffo, Auto Test Magazine, Motorpress Argentina S.A. Photography: Miguel Tillous Translation: Alejandro Cáceres. Siam di Tella 1500: Nunca Taxi The Di Tella was […]
Chrysler’s attempted Australian invasion of the UK The history of Australian Chrysler cars in Britain has its roots in America – a truly multi-national tale! The story starts in the pre-war era when Walter P Chrysler started to expand his rapidly growing American company across the world. By the early 1930s, Chrysler had set-up an […]
BL Belgium press kit: Celebration of the 500,000th car assembled in Seneffe, 10 May 1977 // Translation by Dimitri Urbain, original material supplied by André Vermeersch The Seneffe plant is the main British Leyland investment outside the UK. On top of being an assembly plant, Seneffe is now BL’s unique distribution centre for its largest […]
The Australian market featured a number of interesting variations on the ADO16 theme that we didn’t get in the home market. The most fascinating was the five-door Nomad, which might have kick-started the hatchback family car market years before the arrival of the Volkswagen Golf… or negated the need for the Austin Maxi.