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Encyclopedia > British Leyland

The British Leyland Motor Corporation (often abbreviated to simply "BL"), was a Britain in 1968.



BL was created from the merger of many British car manufacturing companies. Many of these brands have since been divested and continue to exist to this day, although the British Leyland name came to an end in 1982. The most direct heir of the company is the current MG Rover Group.

The company became an infamous monument to the industrial turmoil that plagued Britain in the 1970s. At its peak, BL owned nearly 40 different manufacturing plants across the country. Rivalry between the individual marques which had previously been competitors prior to the merger resulted in a product range which was incoherent and full of duplication. This, combined with serious industrial relations problems (principally, the company's relations with hard_line Socialist Trade Unions of the time), and ineffectual management meant that BL became an unmanageable and financially crippled bethemoth whose bankruptcy in 1975 was inevitable.

British Leyland also produced commercial vehicles, light vans and agricultural tractors.


Merged Companies

The car firms (and car brands) which eventually merged to form the company are as follows.

The dates given are those of the first car of each name, but these are often debatable as each car may be several years in development.

Other Merger Events

Several of these names (including Jaguar, Land Rover and Mini) are now in other hands. The history of the mergers and other key events is as follows:

  • 1910 Daimler purchased by engineering company BSA
  • 1931 Lanchester purchased by BSA. (Last Lanchester 1956)
  • 1938 Morris incorporates Wolseley and Riley forming the Nuffield Organisation
  • 1944 Standard acquire Triumph Cars, forming Standard Triumph
  • 1946 Austin acquire Vanden Plas
  • 1952 The Nuffield Organisation and Austin merge to form the British Motor Corporation (BMC)
  • 1960 Jaguar buy the car_making interests of BSA, including Daimler
  • 1961 Leyland Motors acquire Standard Triumph
  • 1965 Rover acquire Alvis
  • 1966 BMC merge with Jaguar to form British Motor Holdings
  • 1967 Leyland absorb Rover
  • 1968 Leyland merge with British Motor Holdings to form the British Leyland Motor Corporation
  • 1975 Publication of the Ryder Report, British Leyland effectively nationalised due to financial difficulties, company changes its name to BL Ltd.
  • 1977 Michael Edwardes appointed as Chairman by Labour Government. Begins massive cull of excess BL assets.

History of Divestments

  • 1978 Land Rover separated from Rover to form a separate company still part of BL.
  • 1979 Collaboration with Honda begins, sacking of Derek Robinson ("Red Robbo").
  • 1978 Closure of Triumph assembly plant in Speke - Production moved to Canley.
  • 1980 Closure of MG and Triumph assembly plants in Abingdon and Canley
  • 1981 Closure of Rover-Triumph Plant in Solihull.
  • 1981 Alvis sold to United Scientific Holdings
  • 1982 Michael Edwardes steps down as Chairman, British Leyland renamed Austin Rover Group (ARG)
  • 1984 Morris Ital goes out of production, signalling the end of the Morris badge
  • 1984 Jaguar floated off (including Daimler and the US rights to Vanden Plas); bought by Ford in 1989
  • 1986 Austin Rover renamed as Rover Group, Austin badges disappear the following year
  • 1986 Leyland Trucks & Vans sold to DAF. Vans became independent LDV in 1993, and Trucks became Leyland Trucks also in 1993, is taken over by US giant PACCAR in 1998 and integrated with Foden.
  • 1986 Leyland Bus floated off; bought by Volvo 1988
  • 1987 Unipart, BL's spare parts division acquired by management buy-out
  • 1988 Rover Group privatised; sold to British Aerospace
  • 1994 Rover Group sold to BMW; collaboration with Honda ends
  • 2000 BMW decides to break up and sell the Rover empire; Land Rover sold to Ford
  • 2000 Mini retained by BMW, but BMW's other interests sold off
  • 2000 Remainder of company now independent as the MG Rover Group

List of notable BL and BMC and related models (up to 1986)

See Also

External Links

  • Model-by-model history http://austin-rover.co.uk
  • http://www.team.net/www/morgan/history/linage.html
  • http://www.mgxtreme.co.uk/history/history.php
  • http://www.alvis.plc.uk
  • http://www.ownajag.com/jaguar-history.html
  • http://members.fortunecity.com/routeman68/history.htm - Leyland Truck & Bus
  • http://www.dloc.org.uk/main.htm - Daimler, Lanchester and BSA

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