Lord Stokes, chairman of British Leyland, told shareholders at the company’s annual meeting in London yesterday that the favourable profit trend he reported earlier had ‘accelerated “. While profit margins were still too small, he expected figures for the first half of the year to justify his confidence.
Leyland’s first half ran to the end of last month. and Lord Stokes said while the group did not have “a completely free run from industrial disputes”, the situation had been much better “Useful and constructive wage agreements ” had been negotiated with goodwill and understanding on both sides.
Next week Leyland would be launching the Morris volume car, still code-named ADO28. Lord Stokes said it competed in a segment of the market where the group had not been properly represented. Tooling-up for the new Morris and the major reconstruction, modernization and integration of the group’s plants at Cowley and Longbridge were costing Leyland some £45m. When the new Morris is launched, Lord Stokes anticipates that the group will have “complete coverage of what is undoubtedly the biggest growth sector of the British, and possibly the world car market today.”