By Our Midlands Industrial Correspondent
Leyland Vehicles, the truck and bus arm of British Leyland, yesterday signed its first deal, to manufacture a major foreign component in its factories. More joint-venture projects were foreshadowed by Mr David Abell, LV’s chairman and managing director. ZF of Friedrichshafen, Germany, Europe’s leading in- dependent gearbox producer, has licensed Leyland to manufacture its new S6-36 synchromesh box for installation in a range of 12 to 24-ton trucks which will go into production at Bathgate in Scotland during 1983. Leyland’s existing medium- weight boxes are outdated and of the “crash” gear-change type. Mr Abell told a press conference in London:
“Everyone’s future in the truck business depends on greater co- operation in the design and production of components. Leyland has been criticized in the past for being isolationist. This is no longer true, as the deal with ZF shows. Other joint ventures involving Leyland and component manufacturers will follow. We now have much to offer in the. way of new models. It is not overstating the case to say that LV is poised for an exciting new period in its history and the competition is well aware of this.”
Last month Leyland launched the Landtrain, a new super heavyweight truck designed for use in developing countries. A new European heavy truck, code-named T45, will follow next month and will be the first of an entire new family of truck.