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Florida Automotive Journal
December 1970

The 55th London International Motor Show opened at the Earls Court hall, London, October 14, with Britain's largest auto manufacturer reporting a 30 per cent hike in 1971 sales to North America.

General Motors U.K. offshoot also announced an impressive worldwide order for its popular family saloon.

The two—from British Leyland and Vauxhall—add up to a mammoth $326.4 million.

The British Leyland order, worth $264 million, means that 90,000 cars will be exported to the U.S. next year, and 15,000 to Canada.  The U.S. order represents a hike of a third on the 1970 figure, and the Canadian one a 30 per cent lift.

The Vauxhall order, put at $86.4 million is for worldwide delivery of 37,000 viva autos before the end of next March.

Though describing the current orders as "healthy" continually growing sales in North America were predicted by Jack Plane, managing director of British Leyland International, which is responsible for the corporation's overseas sale.

"If production figures can be maintained I estimate the U.S. market will take 100,000 vehicles by 1972 and in 1973 we should be at the 125,000 mark," noted Mr. Plane.

"The United States anticipates selling every Jaguar, MG and Triumph sports car it receives.

"In Canada a resurgence of interest in the Austin Mini, plus the British Leyland sports cars, has company sales people predicting record sales years ahead."

The exhibition, which was opened by England's soccer captain for the last five years, Bobby Moore, was expected to have over 500,000 visitors including several thousand from overseas.

The organizers, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, report that more than 400 manufacturers of cars, coachwork, accessories and components, tires, transport service equipment and caravans were exhibiting.  Eleven American and Canadian makes were on show during its run until Oct. 24.

In the eight month period January - August, Britain's strike prone motor industry produced 1,083,439 units against 1,176,160 in the same period of 1969.  Exports fell back from 560,938 last year to 476,569 for January-August 1970.

Despite these poorer returns director of the SMMT, John Beswick, comments that "the whole country's outlook appears to have swung in a new direction in recent weeks.

"We are beginning to accept, as a people, that it is not just 'up to the government.'  We must welcome the apparent government step - back from interference in the detail management of individual lives and industry and we hope it will continue.

"None would deny that government support will be required, but it must aim at establishing a strong economic climate and providing a framework in which we can plan proper future growth."

He added: "If government keeps to its role, and all of us can get on with ours, we can be confident of meeting the promise that new products at Earls Court offers to us all."

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