American dealers call for decision on MG
By David Felton
Worried American car dealers who hold BL franchises are pressing the British company to reach a speedy conclusion on the future of the MGB sports car. Dealers in the United States are afraid that when MG production is phased out next year they will lose the major part of their business. At the moment in terms of volume the MGB accounts for more than 50 per cent of BL’s American sales.
Two senior BL executives recently crossed the Atlantic in an attempt to reassure dealers, but several dealers stormed out mid-way through the meeting, threatening to sue BL for damages for loss of business if the MG is dropped.
BL’s reconstruction plans envisage the phasing out of the MG next year and the closure of the Abingdon plant in Oxfordshire. However, BL executives promised that production would continue until the end of next year, which would guarantee cars in American showrooms until the spring of 1981. They also said that the MG marque would continue.
BL is at present having discussions with a consortium led by Aston Martin Lagonda . Mr Joseph Herson, a dealer in Rockville, Maryland, and chairman of the Leyland Dealers National Council, said that his members were getting impatient with BL and were pressing for quick decisions. Legal action was threatened by members of a breakaway dealers’ council based on the West Coast, but it appears that this threat has now petered out.