By CLIFFORD WEBB
Rationalizing the new group’s European marketing set up should be child’s play compared with the mammoth task of unravelling the multiplicity of long established dealerships in Britain.
Since the arrival of Filmer Paradise, the ex-Ford man who now heads B.M.C. Europe, much has already been done. Operating from Lausanne, Paradise has built a strong international team, there are nine nationalities in it already. Regional offices are being opened in all the major centres staffed by nationals of those countries.
From the start Paradise made it clear to Longbridge that he did not like the proliferation of brands which have clogged up the B.M.C. sales machine ever since the original Nuffield-Austin merger. On this he may find some sympathy with his new bosses.
One problem which will have to be solved with utmost speed is the part to be played in Europe by the new group’s two Belgian assembly plants, B.M.C.’s at Seneffe and Leyland’s at Malines. There is obvious duplication here and each has a claim to a stake in the future of the new group. B.M.C. Seneffe is probably the more economical operation, assembling as it does from scratch with parts shipped from England.
But perhaps the biggest task facing British Leyland Motor Corporation is the crying need for a concerted and sustained publicity campaign in Europe to change the still all too depressing view of British cars taken by far too many Continental motorists.
The American-owned British based Ford and Vauxhall can hardly be blamed for not pushing their British content. Their pattern in the European scene is increasingly dictated by Detroit . B.L.M.C has no such hindrance. Now it can truly speak in Europe for the British car industry.