On Dec 18, 2006, at 8:28 PM, Triumphs@Autox.team.net daily digest wrote:
> Can some of our British members chime in here? How do major GB
> survive and compete in a global market today?
> Over the years, GB has lost Triumph cars and bikes, Norton bikes,
> BSA bikes,
> MG (lost, revived and lost again), The Mini to BMW, AH, Jaguar to
> Ford, even
> Rolls to VW. What is next Morgan being sold to BMW?
> I for one am glad that Triumph Motorcycles was re-born and
> producing the
> quality british iron it produces. I only hope they can continue to
> thrive for
> the long haul.
Bob, as an expat Brit, I'll chime in. There is no one group to point
fingers at: management were arrogant,
and debilitating union pigheadedness held the whip hand until Thatcher.
Triumph motorcycles are doing well, but it's a cottage industry
compared to the company that gave birth to
the cars we adore here. But they are good machines (I put 50,000
miles on Trophy in 6 years). They are profitable
and are soberly managed.
The UK is essentially now a service economy. Mass production is only
foreign owned - we assemble Japanese cars.
The one industry where we have kept our wits about us is
pharmaceuticals, and I came here for the US subsidiary
of a UK Pharmaceutical Co. to earth-central in the drug world, The US
On Motor Car Manufacture, here is one story about the arrogance of
British management: after the defeat of Germany in WWII,
the victors were sharing the spoils. In the sector assigned to the
Brits was VW. A handful of British Car Maker's Management
went over to the factory took a look around and decided that VW
couldn't offer them anything, and turned it down. Turned It Down!
Or on two wheels: When Triumph was riding high. Honda asked to
introduce a small 'you met the nicest people on a Honda' bike via
Triumph dealerships in the US. Triumph let them in, thinking they
could never do more than a little bike, when
Triumph were making the fastest, prettiest bikes in the world (this
as the 60s). It gave Honda a foothold, and they then started to
faster bikes to become the cuckoo in the nest. To this day, at many
of the older Honda dealerships in the US, if you scratch the red
are Triumph dealerships underneath. This was classic mistake by
Triumph - not recognising a competitor and even inviting them in to
However, the UK engineers live on. To the west of London is an
amazing hidden industry - a Silicon Valley of Speed - where much of the
world's racing iron is designed and built: Rally, Formula One,
Nascar; you name it, and much of it was built in the UK.
Its racing's little secret, actually.
Brian in Valley Forge
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