Are British cars better or worse now?

Second question – is there anything which can be called a ‘British’ car anymore?  Stupid questions, as Dearieme might say.  😀

Simon [Richards, CEO Freedom Association] gives his take:

The Marina worse than the Pinta in the US?

Not wanting American readers to feel left out:

5 comments for “Are British cars better or worse now?

  1. ASM
    May 30, 2020 at 15:55

    There’s TVR, that is back in UK ownership, through Les Edgar, who was the guy who programmed video games like Populous, and Syndicate back in the early 90’s. He himself has commented that he’s done it partly because there is no such thing as a British car anymore. Jim Ratcliffe of INEOS is presumably still working upon his “modern” version of the Land Rover and James Dyson has shelved that electric car he tried to develop in the face of no support off of the UK government whatsoever.

    One reason why Japan has those stupid, dinky microcars (Kei cars) is not because of pollution or narrow rural roads, it is to provide a massive backdoor stimulus to it’s car industry in the form of in-country only models that foreign contractors never get offered any work upon. They also have a system of vehicle registration where it gets more expensive over time to register and re-register your car, whenever it get their equivalent of an MOT test. Hence, another massive stimulus as it encourages you to chuck away a perfectly good vehicle and buy a new one.

    The used car market in Japan is actually quite small: Most used cars are exported, and the industry has done a lot to cultivate snobbery around the notion of used car ownership, even up to an including good stuff like the Nissan Skyline which remains one of the coolest things you can wrap around a lamp-post.

    • May 30, 2020 at 17:02

      Skyline for the discerning.

  2. Mudplugger
    May 30, 2020 at 21:35

    The game was up for the all-British mass car industry when the Japanese showed how it should be done. The British manufacturers had survived by shipping out shoddy product, leaving the dealer network to put them right – the Japanese factories, led by Toyota, shipped out perfect product, at high spec, which never needed any warranty work. It didn’t take the UK motorists long to notice, it took the myopic manufacturers too long.

    Bought my first new Toyota in 1978, then bought two more – none ever needed any fault rectification. I took one Toyota to 150,000 miles (admittedly mostly motorway) and sold it with its original exhaust, spark-plugs, brake disks, rear shoes and even front pads – the only items ever replaced were oil/air filters, tyres and wiper-blades. Owned seven Toyotas, since then I added a few Mazdas, Nissans, Kias etc. All built to the Oriental standard, not the Longbridge one.

    I currently have two UK-built cars on the fleet, both minority models, one built more than 45 years ago in Derby, the other assembled a couple of years ago in Sunderland but with very mixed parentage. Both excellent examples of the passage of time in that industry: the Sunderland one demonstrates that it is still possible to put together some excellent product here, but also confirms that this can only be achieved by adhering to the Oriental design and assembly systems.

    • May 30, 2020 at 21:49

      One case where protectionism is misplaced.

    • Mark Matis
      May 31, 2020 at 12:04

      Might it also be related to Wallace and Gromit? Perchance the product went downhill when British engineering and manufacturing approached that standard?

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