I was reading in the FT this past week about the recent sucesses in the British car industry as opposed to the dismal performance of other EU countries. And the article - quite rightly - pointed out that virtually all of the British car industry is actually foreign-owned, mostly Asian.
So....the workers are the same, the locations are the same, all that has changed to bring about this rosy state of affairs is new ownership: which begs the question, why was the car industry so feeble* under British ownership ? What did we do that was wrong ? What are the new owners doing that is so right ?
Industry was always the responsibility of der manijmunt.
That the motor industry took their eye off the ball, complacently regarded themselves as above competition, and then were incapable of dealing with employment issues cannot be escaped.
This was actually coming right just as Thatcher intervened and sold it all off, because a new breed of managers was coming to the fore, but their skills and aspirations were cut off it their prime and they now work for BMW, Nissan, MAN, Paccar and TATA, exporting both the profits and the products of their labour instead.
A strong counter-argument to 'Blame Thatcher!' might be the sorry saga of Rover. They did not flourish linked to Honda and then, under ze Chermans... All that is left, for the most part, is the purely German pseudo-Mini; the rest was handed over on a platter to a group of Brits who squandered the money and then watched it sink.
I remember watching the British bike industry sink, going from domination to nowhere in the American market in less than 10 years, when arrogance played a large part in that, essentially telling stupid Septics what we should buy rather than bothering to ask what we might want. It became so bad that BSAs were just sat there gathering dust in showrooms thanks to looking... Ah! I don't want to think about it!
I worked for a Norton dealer right at the end, when we delivered one of the last Series III Commandos before the collapse.
I used to work on MGs, again, doing pre-delivery on one of the last MGBs. It had a casting flaw in the cylinder head so that the oil was a lovely robin's-egg blue colour. I ended up swapping the head with one from another B, since the papers had the serial number of the car with the defective head. What fun!
Call me a Jonah; I worked on SAABs, Peugeots, Fiats, Renaults... all gone from the US market. Well, Fiat is back, sort of. If some Jap wants to pay me, I go work on them again, kill them stone dead.
Is Capitalism the problem? 'Exploiting the workers,' and all that? How's the Cuban car industry doing these days? They seem to do a very nice line of retro vehicles, much more authentic than that hokey little Mini, there is that.... What is the solution to this problem?
Here in the People's Republic of Southern Vermont we have been invaded by luvvies, here to make a movie about horny-handed sons of the flinty soil. It started with one Mini in the muddy parking lot and we are now, since a few days, up to two, and counting. I blame whoever invented the handbag for men, probably Gianni Versace.
Are you giving enough attention to your cats and your work these days ?
As for the topic, VW's German bits and Skoda may be doing well , but I don't think the others are. BMW has also had another record year.
In other countries , Peugeot/Citroen is in dire straits,Renault results lousy, Saab is dead, Volvo recently sold to PRC, Mitsubishi has announced closure of its Dutch factory, GM has already closed the Antwerp plant and now said that its European business made a loss of USD 300 million plus and more plant closures are not ruled out ( Bochum and Ellesmere Port in the firing line )
airship: either get your facts straighter before any further postings
I don't recall having mentioned VW in my posting so there weren't any facts to straighten. But in our road there are three families driving Range Rovers (amusingly all are French families), one German family with a Mercedes, and several (British/Italian/Dutch) Peugeots.........not a VW in sight.
P.S. Wouldn't dream of mugging a North African, fine workers most of them, and always polite and friendly when we employ them on building work. And they always earn and receive a bonus from me.
Mitsubishi has announced closure of its Dutch factory
The Dutch Automobile industry. DAF, Volvo, NedCar. Smart. Mitsubishi. Call it what you will. It was built to help reduce the strain when the mines closed here. It's struggled on for years under various owners. There seem to be some new buyers (Chinese?) interested in taking it over.
Bad design of British cars certainly didn't help. On the early minis the floor pn was welded on outside of the body panels which didn't help make it corrosion proof. Management and Designs NIH attitude to improvements was also pivotal. Ford continued the E93A Pop (separate chassis, side valve engine, rod brakes 6 volt electrics, vacuum windscreen wipers) until the late 50s. The Italians were/are no better. Alfas made by spraying a thin layer of metal onto the inside of a body made of paint. I once had an Alfasud GTi which was a great little car, unfortunately it had rust on it from Day 1. Selling Lancias as Chryslers, WTF? That's got to be a lose/lose situation.
Myself, I reckon if the UK still made those world beating cars, the Allegro, Maestro, TR7 and such like that we would still have a world beating British Leyland. Quality, drivers cars; all of them.
Being sensible now, the wife and I have been looking at a replacement car for a year now. We need a car that is a drivers car and will take four persons on long distance journeys. The car must be a good car driving in the city, but also a good car on B roads, C roads and D roads. We have looked at every single manufacturer possible, and across a large range of vehicles (from Golf size to Mercedes CLS and also Land rover Discovery, BMW X5 etc)
I wouldn't actually buy any Audi or Volkswagen. The only Audi I can fit into is an A8 and none of the Volkwagens appear to be value for money. Volkswagen quality also appears to be downward and design insipid. Audi build quality does not appear to be as good as some of the Fords either. That was really surprising to find. The A8 was appallingly built for such a high cost.
Looked at the Porsche Panamera. Wow on the inside, ugly on the outside. A good drive though. BMW's are not much cop on Scottish roads due to the weather. Also not much room for back seat passengers. Peugeot look okay, drive okay, but I can't deal with quality issues or faults. Vauxhalls are not for me. Have driven most of the range long distance and can't get comfortable in any of them. I can't drive the new Ford Mondeo as there is a grill on the top of the dash which reflects in the windscreen at my eye height and means I can't see cars ahead of me. Tried different Mondeos for a few weeks to see if I could get used to it. I couldn't. Might end up waiting for the New, new Mondeo next year, or the new Mazda 6 which comes out at the end of this year. Discovery 4 was fast and reasonably comfortable, just not a drivers car. Doesn't have the issues of some of the Land Rover range. Range Rover too small, Evoque, too small, Discovery not a sensible choice, nor wide enough for me.
Anyhow, lots of research, many results and it looks like I may end up either buying a CLS (love the old shape) or waiting for the new Mondeo.
Am looking for a vehicle that is comfortable for four persons over long distances. A range Rover has bugger all leg room for back seat passengers and not enough head room.
Physically, think of me as a tight head prop with short legs, short arms and a very long back. Is why I can't get in to most Audis. Same with most Jaguars. Many cars I could get in to my head was bent sidewards against the roof of the car. I also need a wide car, very wide. My wife, think of as a Number eight (but female). Tall, slim and wide. A lot of cars I got in to my eye line was above the sun visor.
Long journeys we swap who is driving to give us all breaks. Therefore I will end up in the back at some stage. Getting my size ten (44 European) flippers under the front seat can also be a problem.
Hummers are crap on road and not as good as a Defender off road.
What amazes me is that Ford flogged Jaguar to the Indians just when they had developed their best range of cars ever. The XK, XF and the XJ are not only beautiful to look at but keep winning awards in competition with the German cousins.
Me - I remain satisfied with the much under-appreciated XS. It may not cater for hval's dimensions but the twin-turbo 2.7 diesel is ideal for Scottish roads - giving that stunning acceleration from 45 - 70+++ ideal for passing the formations of caravans which infest our roads in summer - while delivering over 40mpg. The last 08 ones can now be picked up for less than a new Ford Focus Ford rectified the horrendous unreliability which plagued Jags in the early 90s - but there is a car snobbery in Britain which assumes the BMWs, Mercs and Audis must be better.
Hval, my wife has the previous model Mazda 6 and I reckon even a Gruffalo would be comfortable in it. We're both shorties so the seats are well forward and the rear seat passengers seem a long way away. No doubt the new model will be the same. My impression of the car is that it's essentially designed for the American market and as we know there are lot of Gruffalos in the US of A. The only problem with it was a rubbish OE battery that died if you even left a single interior light on all night. I'm sure that's fixed on the later models.
I agree about Ford. Ford make quality vehicles at affordable prices that are cheap to maintain and to repair. From the past years research, and from cars I have driven, Ford have overtaken most other companies in terms of quality and drivability.
I am not a car snob. I will buy any car that meets my needs. I also will not pay for a name (e.g. Audi and Volkswagen) when Ford make better cars than them. After a year of researching, looking at and driving in real life situations I am very surprised how poor Audi and Volkswagen are.