By Clifford Webb
British Leyland’s new “up-market” policy for selling Austin Morris cars was spelt out for the first time yesterday by Mr Keith Hopkins, managing director of the Austin Morris division. He said at a press preview of a new Austin Morris car to be launched next month: “This upmarket policy may have been misconstrued by some people. What we are doing is a recognition of the fact that with an Austin Morris output of below one million cars a year it is just not sensible or realistic for us to try to compete head on with those of our international competitors who have output potentials twice or three times as big as ours.”
Mr Hopkins said their policy was to improve product quality and refine engineering standards to a degree which justified the slightly higher price for each model.
“We shall be seeking to create little niches in the world market place which are more profitable for us,” he emphasized, however, that Austin Morris was not opting out of the volume section of the market and indeed intended to consolidate its position as leader of this sector.