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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic find on Kindle
I downloaded this as a Kindle freebie and whilst I might have otherwise passed it by, with hindsight I would definitely pay for this book.
The author has managed to cover a wide-ranging topic in a well structured way. In general it is presented chronologically; detailing the internal and external decisions that impacted on the company that was formed by the merger...
Published 24 months ago by Clare Topping

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slightly frustrating...
The author clearly knows his subject, and has researched well, and included many useful snippets of interviews and first hand accounts; for that, it's a useful book.
Sadly, the layout, erratic timeline and sometimes I suspect, poor editing, let the side down. It is a complicated subject being covered here, but even so, the unfocussed nature of much of the book, makes...
Published 19 months ago by CreepingJesus


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slightly frustrating..., 1 Feb 2013
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This review is from: British Leyland: Chronicle of a Car Crash 1968-1978 (Kindle Edition)
The author clearly knows his subject, and has researched well, and included many useful snippets of interviews and first hand accounts; for that, it's a useful book.
Sadly, the layout, erratic timeline and sometimes I suspect, poor editing, let the side down. It is a complicated subject being covered here, but even so, the unfocussed nature of much of the book, makes it harder to read than it should be.
Still a good book, for the library of anyone interested in the subject, and ultimately worth its' modest price.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Poorly produced but excellent content, 22 July 2013
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The author describes in detail the decline of the once world's fifth largest vehicle producer from its formation in 1968 to the end in 1978 when the assumptions of the infamous Ryder report turned out to be incorrect. In summary form the aftermath until the demise of Rover in 2005 is also described. The focus of the book is on the cars. It is a detailed study and explains the external factors, the significant internal failings and the strategic errors.
Regrettable the paperpack book is poorly produced and the very few tiny photographs are of poor quality.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic find on Kindle, 1 Sep 2012
By 
Clare Topping (Northamptonshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I downloaded this as a Kindle freebie and whilst I might have otherwise passed it by, with hindsight I would definitely pay for this book.
The author has managed to cover a wide-ranging topic in a well structured way. In general it is presented chronologically; detailing the internal and external decisions that impacted on the company that was formed by the merger of BMC and Leyland Motors. There are also additional sections giving more information about specific, and now iconic, models such as the Allegro and Marina. He has also include quotes from the media at the time of the launches; the Marina being 'What happens when Britain's best engineers set out to build a beautiful car'.
The view presented appears to be completely objective with regards to the reasons for the failure and eventual collapse of BL. The disruption caused by the strikes prevalent in the 70s is quantified, the decisions made by management relating to the design and production of the models as well as the quality control is critically analysed and the role of the various governments and their stance on interference in industry discussed. The fortunes of BL are also compared and contrasted with those of other major car makers of the time.
The conclusion that is drawn seems to indicate that the collapse may have been avoidable, but there were so many contributing factors that it was unlikely to remain afloat.
I have to qualify this review by stating that I am not a car nut; I have a passing interest in Wheeler Dealers and I found a trip to the Coventry Transport Museum fascinating, but, although it was heavy going in places, I loved this book. I never realised how many strands and inter-relationships there were in the British motor industry, but they were all pulled together brilliantly in this book. I now know so much more.
My only criticisms are that the book is quite long, but then it is a hefty subject and I found some of the model numbers quoted (e.g. ADO28) a little confusing, as were some of the changes to the management team, especially considering the number of divisions in BL for the majority of its life. Perhaps a BLMC family tree or a timeline might have helped.
All in all I can thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in the history of the car industry.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A sad history of a car manufacturer, 11 Sep 2012
This is a well informed and well written book. Knowing people who worked for Triumph and the stories they told confirms the author did his homework. It is a tale of woe from pretty much beginning to end, poor management who seemed to be only interested in their small part of the empire, militant unions hell bent on destruction and polititions trying to run an industry they knew nothing about and everybody seeming to only listen to what they wanted to hear.
The book is well laid out a year at a time and model by model and is full of facts and figures which can be hard going especially if reading late at night. As someone with a big interest in the British car industry I found the content of this book excellent if somewhat depressing and a lesson to all those in the industry and how not to run it.
I only have one criticism and that is the production quality. This book was obviously produced down to a price which I can understand as it is of limited interest however the few photographs in the book are quite poor quality which as they are incidental doesn't really matter but the cover is very poor being on thin card and laminated which makes it curl. By the time I was halfway through the book the laminate was starting to peel off which does spoil it.

This book ought to be publicised through the classic car magazines and the owners club of the various BL marques and I am sure it would sell very well, I came across it by accident while looking for another title, but please put a better cover on it even if you have to put the price up a bit.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a disaster!, 15 July 2013
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What an interesting read. I couldn't put it down. Quite a few of the facts were known to me, but when you see them all together, one realises how militant unions, poor management and a business where investment seems to have been squandered, was on the road to ruin over many years.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nevr known facts, 27 Aug 2013
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This review is from: British Leyland: Chronicle of a Car Crash 1968-1978 (Kindle Edition)
This book blows away so much mystery about BL, how it was formed, and how it crashed. Could not put it down!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Read if you are interested in BL, 23 Aug 2013
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This review is from: British Leyland: Chronicle of a Car Crash 1968-1978 (Kindle Edition)
A first class book packed with data about the demise of BL and role of successive governments in patching things up instead of resolving the real issues of the era, i.e. the appalling labor relations and the role of the trade unions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A well documented read, 30 July 2013
By 
T. Claw "KITCARMAN" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: British Leyland: Chronicle of a Car Crash 1968-1978 (Kindle Edition)
Sad yet fascinating account of how so many mistakes were made although even with the benefit of hindsight it's Hard to see if things could have been different. An interesting and well researched missive which should appeal to many drivers of "a certain age"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dense but very insightful coverage of British Leyland from start to finish, 1 July 2013
By 
AK (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: British Leyland: Chronicle of a Car Crash 1968-1978 (Kindle Edition)
Christopher Cowin has produced an excellent summary of British Leyland, from formation in 1968 to the eventual demise of Rover in 2005 (events past 1978 are covered, only not in as much detail). This is a book primarily for those interested in industry analysis, and the intricacies in running a large conglomerate, and less so for people primarily looking for details of cars or for the smell of petrol emanating from every page (for British Leyland products British Leyland - The history, the engineering, the people (illustrated) is closer to the latter brief). As such it is not overly long but very dense as a result - with lots to capture over the primary 10 year period, as well as lots of an aftermath to cover.

The book covers the genesis of British Leyland, the political and economic environment leading to it (as well as the thinking that produced it), the operation of the company in an annual format, six key vehicles laucnhed during the British Leyland time, the international divisions and then includes an extensive aftermath section, an analysis of factors leading to BLs demise (as well as a final executive summary of the book) and a bibliography / further reading section.

The author does not take the easy route of blaming either worker unrest, or poor quality, or political meddling on their own for the eventual downfall but really manages to bring across the whole intricate network of factors at play. At the same time he shows a very balanced understanding of why certain factors of 1960s and 1970s industrial Britain functioned the way they did and how they affected the automotive sector generally and BL in particular.

If you want an elevator pitch of why BL failed, the book is most certainly not it; still it does an excellent job of building understanding of the complexity of an automotive multinational and is in my opinion well worth the time to read and digest. While it is unlikely that there will be another company that is subject to the same pressures and demands any time soon, there is an extreme richness of insight, which can very well be transfered to related cases.

I would definitely recommend this book for both people generally interested in the automotive industry / manufacturing, as well as people interested in management more broadly. In my opinion this forms an excellent complement to My Years with General Motors and should be a component in any library on the automotive sector.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars BL . Chronicle of a car crash, 13 May 2013
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An of Informative and honest account of the declne of BL without the usual cliches
More photos were needed plus all the data could have been better presented.He was inclined to repeat himself.
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