By Edward Townsend
British Leyland is to phase out production of its famous 10-year-old Guy range of lorries by the middle of next year, the company announced yesterday. The move, part of a rationaiization of the company’s lorry and bus programme, was revealed to Guy distributors and union representatives at Leyland’s Wolverhampton plant which, from next year, is to become a supplier of parts to other manufacturing plants in the lorry and bus group.
Leyland said the Wolverhampton factory would continue to produce knocked-down units including buses, for assembly overseas, and part of its new role would be to manufacture axles and other assemblies and components. About 750 workers are employed at Wolverhampton and the company said that the labour force would remain “at least at its present level” with the emphasis on unit manufacture rather than assembly.
The Wolverhampton plant has been operating on short time for a considerable period and the company indicated that “with the future of the plant secure as an essential part of the lorry and bus group production facility “, there would soon be a return to normal working. The Guy Big J range of heavy lorries has become a familiar sight on British roads since its launch in 1965, but under the new streamlining plan Leyland clearly feels that there is too much duplication with other more advanced vehicles.
To keep the Guy range in production would mean switching it to another plant. Considerable investment would also be needed on engineering and redesign work to enable the range to meet EEC regulations.