By Clifford Webb
British Leyland has shipped six huge presses from its failed Australian factory and is now installing them in the group’s body pressing plant at Castle Bromwich. The move will increase existing capacity. But it will not be welcomed by the many Midland companies who at present supplement Leyland body pressing facilities with outside contract work.
A spokesman for British Leyland Cars said last night: “Since demand has fallen following the worldwide recession in car sales we have already started bringing back contract work which can be done in our own under-utilized factories. The Australian machinery will enable us to extend the amount of work we now do in-house.”
The presses will be retooled to produce body panels for the Mini and Jaguar XJ and XJ-S models. They were manufactured in this country some 10 years ago. By bringing them back instead of trying to sell them at knockdown prices to depressed Australian motor manufacturers, Leyland claims to have saved both money and time.
“It would have cost us many times the £1m or so we paid for then to have equipped Castle Bromwich with new machines and we should have had to wait a long time for then to be manufactured”. a company spokesman said.
“One machine will replace an existing machine at the head of a production line which has been suffering from persistent breakdowns. The others will supplement existing capacity.”