British Leyland is taking the unusual step of renaming its successful 18-22 series less than six months after it was launched. The marque names, Austin, Morris and Wolseley, are being dropped and the car will be known simply as the Princess. The number of versions has been reduced from seven to four to reduce production and distribution costs.
The revised range comprises a Princess 1800 and a Princess 2200, each with two levels of trim and equipment. The announcement has been brought forward from the end of the month so that the car in its new guise can be exhibited at the Frankfurt Motor Show. which opens today. The decision to adopt a single name for the car is evidence that Leyland intends to move away from the much criticized policy of “badge engineering” , the marketing of almost identical models under different marques.
But it also means the disappearance of the Wolseley badge, which is 80 years old this year. Leyland says it intends to keep the name “on ice” for the future.