Leyland Vehicles, the truck and bus side of British Leyland, plans the cutbacks at its Leyland, Preston and Chorley plants after the worst November sales on record in Britain. Registrations for the month were 46 per cent below those of November last year. A company spokesman said that a combination of severely depressed home and overseas markets made the measures imperative if Leyland Vehicles was to remain intact.
“The situation in the United Kingdom truck market is now desperate. It has put one of our competitors into receivership (Foden) and forced short-time or redundancies on every truck maker in the country.”
The spokesman said that the British market for trucks over 3.5 tonnes would shrink from 80,000 units in 1979 to a little over 60,000 this year and it looked set to reach an all-time low of 50,000 next year.
“We can no longer call the recession short-term and in view of this we have no alternative but to take further cost reduction measures to safe-guard the fabric of our business.”
It was hoped that most of the redundancies would be filled by volunteers, with March as the target date for completion. The 12,000 workforce at the three Lancashire plants have been working extensive short-time for the past three months. There is some encouraging news for Leyland Vehicles, however. Its market share has remained constant this year at around 17 per cent after more than 10 years of steady decline. The new T45 heavy truck is meeting all its targets and will be supplemented in the new year by further variants of the model.