AUSTIN’S SHARE DROPS
By Michael Smith , Industrial Editor
Austin Rover has suffered a further setback with news of a further sharp decline in the state owned company’s share of the booming British car market. The company’s market share sank to 14.8 per cent in September, which means that Austin Rover ‘s stake in the record-breaking UK market has declined, by 2 per cent to 16.2 per cent in the opening nine months of 1986.
The grim figures , published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders , will add to the gloom at Austin Rover. The company is still reeling from losses of more than £200 million in the first half of 1986 and its new chairman , Mr Graham Day, has responded by removing several members of the senior management. In addition , production is currently being disrupted by the impact of the Lucas Electrical dispute.
Austin Rover’s latest problems emerge on the eve of the industry ‘s show-piece event , the International Motor Show, which opens in Birmingham next week. However, the continuing boom in British car sales is providing a stark contrast to Austin Rover’s difficulties. Total sales last month grew by 2.5 per cent to a record September level of 147,000. The boom in September , which reflects the intense marketing campaigns of many manufacturers, should mean that the British car market will break all records in 1986. Sales in the first nine months of 1986 are already 2.6 per cent higher than the previous best established in 1985.
The US-owned Ford remains the market leader, having increased its market share from 26.2 to 27.2 per cent so far this year. General Motors , which takes in Vauxhall, has seen its share decline from 16.6 to 15.1 per cent.