By Peter Waymark Motoring Correspondent
British Leyland is dropping three models in its Austin Allegro small saloon range, less than a year after the car was introduced, because of poor demand. They are the two-door versions of the 1300 de luxe, the 1500 super de luxe and the 1750 sport. The Allegro was launched in 12 versions, based on four engine sizes, and Leyland now concedes that this was too many.
By pruning the range it hopes to concentrate its production and sales efforts on the more popular Allegros, for which there are waiting lists in many areas. Leyland expected the greatest demand for the bigger engined Allegros, but this has not been the case. The soaring prices of petrol and other increases in motoring costs have persuaded buyers to choose the smaller, more economical cars. But the four-door versions, with a price difference of only £40, have proved much more popular than the two-door.
The only two-door Allegro still available is the basic 1100 model. A succession of industrial disputes, the three-day week and falling demand for cars because of the energy crisis have meant that the Allegro, one of the most important new British models for some years, has so far failed to have the impact Leyland expected.
In the first three months of this year it came seventh in the list of best-selling cars in Britain, a modest performance compared with its predecessor, the 1100/1300. Production is still running at only just over half the weekly capacity of 4,500 to 5,000 units.