By Clifford Webb Midland Industrial Correspondent
British Leyland are seeking local authority planning permission to build a 1,000,000 sq ft car assembly plant at Solihull, Warwickshire, on land adjoining the main factory complex of Rover. It will be the second stage in an estimated £25m expansion programme, designed to double Rover output of 2,000 vehicles a week, within the next five years.
The first stage will be the construction of a 230,000 square foot paint plant. Work is expected to start on this within a few weeks, and is scheduled for completion next year. Triumph at Coventry, is expected to play a key role in Rover’s expansion-as a supplier of components, including engines and transmissions. It is understood that Triumph’s Coventry factory will shortly receive considerable investment in new, highly automated production machinery.
Assembly of cars will continue at Triumph. Factory sources are at pains to point out that Triumph cars will take on an even more important long-term role when the present over-crowded range of sports cars and saloons is thinned out and sharpened by newcomers. Quietly, and without an official announcement, the specialist car division, comprising Jaguar, Rover and Triumph, has been broken up.
Rover and Triumph have been pulled together into one company, Rover Triumph, under a new chief executive, Mr Bill Davis, former managing director of Triumph.