Shortage Of Parts Foils Sales Drive
By PAUL WILENIUS Industrial Reporter
PRODUCTION of Rover’s new prestige 800 car was halted yesterday by a dispute in an outside components factory. Just as sales of the Rover were beginning to take off after a slow beginning to take off after a slow start, the Birmingham factory of Lucas has been unable to supply enough headlamps and rear lights.
So production at the Cowley, Oxford, factory has been halted at the moment when Austin Rover bosses were planning to introduce a night shift to boost output.
But hopes of a big sales drive at Britain’s International Motor Show in Birmingham could have been wrecked by the Lucas dispute. Workers at Lucas have imposed an overtime ban in protest at a five per cent pay offer. A long dispute would cause severe problems for Austin Rover, which lost £60 million last year. British Leyland overall lost more than £200 million. _.
Output of three other cars, the Metro, Mini, and Rover 200 were also hit yesterday when the Longbridge factory at Birmingham was closed and 1,000 Austin Rover men were sent home because of component shortages. Austin Rover’s share of the UK car sales market is hovering around 16 per cent. During the first half of this year the company had a £60 million trading deficit.