FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
MALINES, Oct 4
Standard Triumph International (S.T.I.) marked the opening by the British Ambassador, Sir John Nicholls, of their new £250,000 factory here, 20 miles from Brussels, with an immediate reduction in the Belgian price of the Triumph Herald. Mr A. S. Dick, the managing director, announced this afternoon that the benefits of manufacturing inside the Common Market had made possible an important cut of £49 (7,000 Belgian francs) to £496 10s.
“We are determined”, he said, “to keep pace with the demands of the continental markets.”
Thus Standard becomes what it claims is the only British motor-car manufacturer to establish its own plant within the Common Market.
“My company”, Mr Dick said, “in common I believe with the rest of the United Kingdom motor industry, looks upon the division of Europe economically as little short of a catastrophe, but we cannot afford to wait for those whose responsibility it is to resolve the undoubted problems which still exist in bringing them together, and we have therefore launched this project.”
The price cut reflects -three major influences:
- the saving of 14 per cent on tariff costs by assembly here rather than importing cars completed in the United Kingdom;
- the expectation of growing efficiency as turnover increases here;
- the present highly competitive state of the Belgian car market.
The new factory, built in little more than four and a half months, will initially turn out cars at the rate of 2,500 a year, and it is hoped to raise this progressively up to 10,000 a year. Production, which will concentrate on the three model Triumph Herald range and the Triumph TR3 sports car, will at first be devoted to the Belgian market, but, with the prospect of continuing reductions in internal tariffs among the Common Market countries, exports to the other countries of the six will plainly follow.
Green Belt Compromise For Motor Works
From Our Correspondent
WORCESTER, OCT. 4
An objection made by the British Motor Corporation to the Worcestershire County Council’s green belt proposals was settled today by agreement when the public inquiry into the proposals was continued at the Shire Hall.
Mr Eric Blain, who appeared for the B.M.C., suggested that a disputed area of some 46 acres at Cofton Hackett should be allowed to remain in the green belt on condition it was agreed that special consideration should be given if this land was needed for “the reasonable requirements of expansion ” of the neighbouring Austin motor works. Mr J. P. Widgery, for the county council, accepted the suggested postponement of the issue, and others who had entered objections to the B.M.C. scheme accepted with reluctance that this was a possible basis of settlement.
Opening the case for the B.M.C., Mr Blain said that if the 46 acres were included in the green belt the future development of the Austin works would be jeopardized if not positively prevented. There was almost a firm commercial programme for this land and the factory it was hoped to build would be a vital link in the chain of national prosperity.
The production of vehicles at the Longbridge works had risen to 324,000 last year. This was half the corporation’s total output and the expansion programme envisaged that a million vehicles a year would be turned out by the B.M.C.. half of them at Longbridge, and that the value of exports would rise from a present figure of £128m. per annum to £220m.
Many of the present buildings at Longbridge were out of date and a big rebuilding programme faced the B.M.C., together with the need to increase parking space for employees’ cars. Mr Blain emphasized that a settlement along the lines he had suggested would leave the B.M.C., the county council, and those local interests that were objecting with the same rights if the corporation in future submitted a plan for a new factory.
Mr Widgery said he must warn that the county council would still feel that Cofton was not the right place for a car factory because of the adjoining beauty spots of the Lickey Hills and Upper Bittell reservoir.
Mr Philip Cox, who appeared on behalf of the Barnt Green Fishing Club, said they felt that by the proposed delay they had been manoeuvred into a position where their objection became weaker. Mr F. Blennerhassett said that a protection committee formed by residents of Cofton agreed that the matter be adjourned but felt there should be no special provision made for industry to come nearer their homes. Professor P. Sargant Florence, chairman of the Midlands New Towns Society, said that industry ought to be encouraged to go into new towns that should be built beyond the green belt.