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The British Motor Industry, 1945-1994A Case Study in Industrial Decline$
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Timothy Whisler

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198290742

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198290742.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 09 March 2021

An Introduction to the Decline: Unfulfilled Promise or Inefficient Path?

An Introduction to the Decline: Unfulfilled Promise or Inefficient Path?

(p.1) An Introduction to the Decline: Unfulfilled Promise or Inefficient Path?
The British Motor Industry, 1945-1994

Timothy R. Whisler

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides an overview of the decline of British industry over the past five decades. In the late 1970s, scholars began referring to the decline in British industrial competitiveness during the 20th century as the ‘British disease’. As manufacturers of a consumer durable in the post-Second World War era, the British car industry, and particularly the indigenous firms, became high-profile victims of the disease. This study offers a synthesis of histories of the following businesses: Nuffield Organization, Austin, BMC, Standard/Leyland-Triumph, Rover, BMLC (and its nationalized successor, British Leyland), BL, Austin Rover, and Rover. Ford UK, Rootes, and CUK are analysed in lesser detail. This study's examination of individual functions reveals that British-owned firms suffered from pervasive weakness, particularly in engineering, product design, product quality, and distribution. The constancy and interrelated nature of the firms' weaknesses explain the decline of the car industry.

Keywords:   British industry, British disease, post-Second World War, British car industry, decline

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