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Triumph Spitfire Car And German Award

Volume 375: debated on Thursday 21 October 1976

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My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have noted that the West German Automobile Club has awarded its annual Silver Lemon for a new car with the worst defects to a Triumph Spitfire from British Leyland.

My Lords, Her Majesty's Government arc aware of Press reports not only on this matter but also of those dealing with the comparison by a German magazine, Auto, Motor and Sport, of the readiness of availability of a representative selection of spares for a wide range of imported cars, in which British Leyland came out joint best.

My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for that friendly, though rather complacent Answer, which did not really answer the specific point of my Question. Can he tell me what action is being taken to ensure that we do not win this award again next year?

My Lords, as knocking British Leyland seems to have become a national sport, and as this is the first occasion on which a British vehicle has won the "Bitter Lemon", one may assume that foreign cars have been winning it in the past.

My Lords, while I should perhaps declare that I have a personal interest in this matter, may I ask the Minister whether he is aware that the owner of this particular car had parts availability within 24 hours and that he has actually bought another British Leyland car, which must indicate his satisfaction? May I also ask whether it is the view of this House that Questions of this sort asked here do no good for British industry and certainly do no good for British Leyland.