British Leyland are installing a £1m. body preparation and paint plant for Austin-Morris at Longbridge in the first step towards integration of their biggest car complex. The next is expected to be an extension of existing body building facilities there. Final assembly lines at Longbridge are now supplied with a mixture of bodies.
Some are built on the spot from panels supplied by group factories at Castle Bromwich and Cowley near Oxford. while other are assembled at these plants and only require painting. Mr George Turnbull managing director of Austin-Morris has said he is giving priority to the integration of Longbridge to end the costly transporting of steel boxes “containing nothing but fresh air”.
Body panels will continue to be pressed in the former Pressed Steel Fisher plants but will be dovetailed into each other and moved by road with considerable cost saving. It is thought that an overhead conveyor will be built across a public road in Longbridge to carry bodies from welding shops to the new preparation and paint shop which is to be built on the site of the existing Number Two Trentham paint shop. Trentham Number One is to be demolished.
TRIUMPH MEN BACK AT WORK
The bulk of workers at the two Leyland Triumph factories returned to work yesterday morning after last week’s strike and lay-off. Production restarted on Toledo cars at Speke Hall, Liverpool , and last night’s shift restarted body production at the Woodend plant. The day staff are not due to return to this plant until this morning, and they did not return yesterday in order to allow the smooth operation of the Toledo assembly lines, where sufficient bodies were available.
Meanwhile , talks with management and men started over the grievance which last Tuesday led to a strike bv 242 painters and a consequent loss of 160 Toledo vehicles a day, apart from car bodies. In Coventry, Triumph faces the threat of more lay-offs during the week because of a work-to-rule by 90 internal transport drivers over a manning dispute.
Their action is causing a pile-up of completed cars and materials. The 3,000 men laid off by the firm for three days last week were back yesterday, enabling full production to he resumed, but there is still doubt about full production continuing during the week.