The Austin Morris division of British Leyland Motor Corporation is planning to increase output this year by nearly 25 per cent, said a spokesman yesterday. The 1969 production target is 850,000 units, 160,000 more than last year’s total. The figure, he explained, includes sets packed in this country for assembly overseas. The division’s target of one million cars in a year should be reached within the next two years, he added.
The current level of production at the four assembly plants in the division, at Longbridge and Adderley Park in Birmingham and at Oxford and Abingdon, is now running at just over 18.000 vehicles a week. In a special supplement which appears in the current issue of the works newspapers, Lord Stokes. the chairman, says that the profit of £37.9m. up to the end of last September did not equal the average profits of the constituent companies over the past five years. The total sales for the 12 month period were £907m. and the profit before tax was just over 4 per cent of turnover, a margin of 10d. in every pound of sales. Lord Stokes says:
” This is not nearly as good as some of our major United Kingdom and European competitors. To keep with the best we need to generate some- thing like twice as much, which sounds ambitious. But we could achieve it if we could avoid production interruptions. We estimate that we lost 80.000 vehicles in 1967-68 through such interruptions somewhere in the industry.”