By Clifford Webb Midland Industrial Correspondent
British Leyland Motors Corporation launches three new trucks for operating at the present United Kingdom maximum gross weight of 32 tons. They represent a considerable advance in the rationalization of the group’s overcrowded truck range. For the first time a major manufacturer is offering a range of trucks from 16 tons to 32 tons using the same basic power unit and a large number of components common to all.
Although there is no official confirmation at this stage, it is understood that this is the first of a series of new truck announcements which will be made by British Leyland during the next 12 months. They could add up to the biggest new model programme seen in Britain since the early post-war years.
The nine trucks in the range completed by today’s announcement all carry the Leyland brand name. In addition to the fixed head 500 engine which broke entirely new ground when it was announced four years ago, they all use only one cab, two front axles, two rear axles, two clutches, two gear boxes. and the same alternator, starter, regulator, and cab wiring loom. For the three newcomers, the Buffalo tractor and rigid and the Super Buffalo, the 500 engine has been turbo charged to produce 212 bhp.
Mr Ron Ellis, managing director of the truck and bus division, said: “The rapid growth of road transport during the past 10 years has led to the development and use of a multiplicity of vehicles and power units most of which have been designed for a particular type of haulage operation.
“The situation has developed where an operator whose business involves a number of different types of work, say urban deliveries, tipping and long distance haulage, has been obliged to purchase different makes of vehicle usually with entirely different running units. We have specifically set out to cater for this with a range of trucks which will reduce driver training, service and maintenance costs and time off the road., In a large fleet where the operator stocks his own spares the saving in capital outlay will be considerable.”
Of more importance to his sales, however, is the fact that he is making it much more difficult for large operators to use competitors’ trucks. Although some will continue to have a preference for individual Ford, Bedford or Dodge models, they will now have to think twice before passing up the economies to be made with his “Leyland 500 Transport System”.