By Clifford Webb
British Leyland is investing £12m almost immediately to boost output of trucks from its factories at Leyland, Lancashire, Bathgate, Scotland, Wolverhampton and Southall, Middlesex. Most of the money will be spent on removing bottlenecks which are restricting engine production at the group’s main engine plant at Leyland.
Mr Ron Ellis, managing director of the truck and bus division, told Business News: “We shall be installing new foundry capacity at Leyland to produce additional cylinder blocks for our diesel engines.”
The shortage of foundry capacity is one of the worst bottlenecks and by removing it Mr Ellis hopes to get a 10 per cent increase in engine production. Leyland’s existing foundry also supplies cylinder blocks for use in the medium-weight trucks. Manufacturing facilities at Guy, Wolverhampton, and AEC Southall, are being expanded and modernized to increase assembly of the Marathon, BLMC’s new super-heavyweight truck.
With a variety of engines it is capable of being operated at the British legal limit of 32 tons gross vehicle weight, or as high as 44 tons GVW for trans-European trunking. British Leyland is aiming at a 20 per cent share of European truck sales. Until the Marathon’s arrival it was without a suitable flagship on which to base sales to large transport companies who insist on maintaining one-make fleets. Now British Leyland claims to offer the most comprehensive range in Europe.