Around the World : The Netherlands
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 operations were expanded to include the Austin A40 and the brand new Morris Mini-Minor (known as the Morris 850 in The Netherlands). The cars were produced from Completely Knocked Down Kits (CKD). Not all of these were badged as Morris – some were delivered as Austin Sevens to the Dutch Austin importer, Stokvis.
The situation remained the same in The Netherlands until 1969/1970, following the formation of BLMC in the UK, when it became locally known as British Leyland Nederland (Gouda). The imported cars were split up by in the following way:
J.J. Molenaar: importer of Morris, MG.
Stokvis: importer of Austin, Austin-Healey.
Dirk van der Mark (a Morris dealer): importer of Riley, Wolseley.
In 1973 production of the Innocenti Mini Cooper 1300 started in The Netherlands (these were considered not to be as well built as their Italian counterparts) and this soon ended in 1975. You can recognize these cars because they had a rather strange ‘export’ badge on the front wing.
The same year saw the commencement of Allegro production.
The colours and specification were sometimes different from the cars that were made in Longbridge and Cowley.
A very ‘special’ Mini, made in Belgium and sold in The Netherlands, was the Mini 1100 Special (wooden dash, leather rim three spoke steering wheel, tinted windows, vinyl roof, luxury upholstery, special wheel covers) and, unlike in the UK, this model became the mainstay of the range. Production was of around 73,000 units in total between 1977-1982.
Assembly in The Netherlands (Amersfoort):
1959 30 Minis
1960 472 Minis
1961 520 Minis
1962 836 Minis
1963 861 Minis
1964 1031 Minis
1965 445 Minis
1966 180 Minis (production stopped)
In 1965, assembly (CKD) commenced in Seneffe (Belgium)
In 1966, BMC started British Motor Corporation Belgium S.A (august 6).
Production in Belgium (Seneffe)
1965-1974 (Mini, Austin 1100/1300/GT, Morris 1100/1300/GT, MG 1300) no records/production not known
1975 25,518 Minis
1976 42,959 Minis
1977 53,988 Minis
1978 50,156 Minis
1979 34,523 Minis
1980 27,478 Minis
1981 778 Minis (production stopped)
Article written by Roderik Tonen, photos supplied by Marcel Snijders, originally taken at Amersfoort by Cor Oorthuys