By Clifford Webb
Midland Industrial Correspondent
British Leyland is making hurried changes in the model mix of the production line of the new Morris Marina following reports from dealers indicating a greater customer preference for the four-door model. At the time of the launch three weeks ago production schedules at the Cowley assembly plant set the mix at about 60 per cent four-door models and 40 per cent two-door coupes.
This was based on the result of market research and on pre-launch reaction from the trade and motoring press. Once the models were on display in dealers’ showrooms motorists were quick to point out that for a premium of only £39 the four-door 1300 saloon at £962 was a much better buy than the coupe. An Austin Morris spokesman said that with five versions of each model, making a total range of 10, some weeks would clearly he needed to enable the company to arrive at a more realistic mix.
“That information is now coming through and we are realigning our production to give the customer what he wants.”
Marina production, at a stand-still since Wednesday because of a strike by 80 maintenance workers, was due to be resumed today. Production. which started at 1000 models a week, is now about 1500, following introduction of a night shift. Once a few night shift production problems have been sorted out the company is confident of achieving an output of 3000 cars a week by midsummer, and 5000 by the end of the year.