By Clifford Webb
Lord Stokes, chairman of British Leyland. yesterday attacked un-informed criticism of British cars. He said it had blackened their image at home and overseas to such an extent that it was unfair and reprehensible.
In a speech on the eve of the Earls Court Motor Show he said: “There is little doubt that we are the most democratic nation on earth and I would not for the world live anywhere else. Self-criticism and awareness of our deficiencies can be both salutary and constructive, but I believe we have now reached a point where all we are succeeding in doing is steadily beating ourselves to death and destroying the morale of the people who have to build and sell our products.
“If one small police force sold a few of its British cars to try out a few foreign cars this was the cause of breastbeating and gnashing of teeth entirely out of proportion to the worldwide use of British Leyland cars by police forces. Why could Britain not exult in her achievements such as the 32 French municipalities who bought British Leyland buses? “Think what a ‘hoo-hah’ there would be if Wigan, Leeds and Exeter bought French buses” he said.
Worker participation and boredom at work had been hogging the headlines recently. British Leyland had given a lot of thought to this and had improved the shop floor say in the running of the corporation’s affairs.
“But”, Lord Stokes continued, “I should say right away that I do not believe that the appointment of a shop floor representative to the company board will achieve anything whatsoever.”