The British Leyland Motor Corporation is shortly to complete a £3m. deal to buy outright Innocenti Autoveicoli of Milan, the company which assembles and sells Austin-Morris cars in Italy. Announcement of the proposed acquisition came at the weekend after several days of heavy speculation in Italy that a deal was imminent. The new managing director of Innocenti is to be Mr Geoffrey Robinson, the corporation’s financial controller.
Mr John Barber, a deputy managing director of BLMC, becomes chairman of the Italian concern, which will now have merged into it British Leyland Italia, the company which markets other BLMC cars (Triumph, Jaguar and Rover) in Italy. The purchase of Innocenti comes as no great surprise. The Innocenti family tried to find a buyer for the whole group last year, and BLMC was one of those approached. At the time it was said to be interested in acquiring only the vehicle side.
Since then the Italian group has sold off its metal division and transferred its Lambretta scooter division to Italy. BLMC’s present sales in Europe stand at around 247,000 vehicles a year. The group expects to increase this to around 500,000 by 1975. Italy is its largest single European market.