Blog posts with the tag Land Rover | Interested In Everything

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Blog posts with the tag "Land Rover"

Following on from my earlier ramblings about UK vehicle production, last  Wednesday I had a rather good tour of the Jaguar-Land Rover plant in Solihull.  One of my colleagues had organised a trip for our final year automotive students and, being as there was a spare seat on the bus (and most of my lot were going anyway, so this week’s lecture would have consisted of me talking to an empty room), she asked me along as it was one factory that I hadn’t visited.  Plus it was a day out and I can’t remember the last time I had one of those…

 

We were taken around the whole plant by our extremely enthusiastic and helpful guide, Bob, an ex-Special Vehicles man with 30 years of experience, who had an encyclopaedic knowledge of things Land Rover.  The tour lasted most of the day and covered just about everything, from the pressing shop, where the body panels are created from sheet metal, along the assembly lines, where everything is put together, right through to final finishing where the complete cars are tested to make sure everything works before they are sent out to the customers.  Apart from the spectacle of seeing some sheets of metal and sundry parts all coming together to make a complete car, I was also impressed by some of the numbers that were getting thrown around – probably the most astounding being that 80% of production is set for export!  The other thing I found interesting was that each of the vehicles that were slowly moving past me on the line had already got a buyer – it looks like, if I get around to ordering that Defender I’ve always promised myself, I’ll have to wait a few months before it gets delivered.

Anyway, before I start sounding like an advert for JLR, have a glance at the company website here.

 

Now, as teaching is paused for the Easter break, I think I’m going to take this opportunity to have a brief holiday.  Nothing too spectacular – I’ll probably hook the caravan up to the MG and disappear off into the wilds of Derbyshire for a few days.  One of the things that appeals to me about this kind of break is that, if I can find a camp site that’s far enough away from civilisation, I might just pack up my trusty telescope and do a bit of star gazing, weather permitting.  I’ll bore you all with my own amateur astronomy tales later, but, for now, here’s an interesting article from last Friday’s Guardian:

I couldn’t possible put it any better than that…

I don’t often read the Guardian these days, so apologies for not spotting this one much sooner. Yesterday, a friend pointed me towards a little article which chimes quite nicely with something I’ve been saying (and mentioned before on this blog – you’ll see this becoming a recurring theme if I’m not careful) for quite some time. One of the stock phrases that some people – mainly lazy journalists – repeatedly trot out regarding UK manufacturing industry is “we don’t make anything any more”.  There seems to be this myth that all we do in this country is sell insurance to one another.

 

If anyone seriously believes this one, then I suggest you spend a few days following me around and looking very closely at some of the companies I visit.  I guarantee that you will soon reach a completely different conclusion. One thing you can probably say is that we don’t make many cheap, low-end consumer goods any more. We certainly do have a thriving manufacturing industry, but its nature has changed somewhat in the last half century.  A lot of the old manual jobs have been automated out of existence, but, as a nation, we still produce many things that the world wants to buy.  Before I start ranting too much, this is the article I’m talking about.

 

I can’t believe I missed this at the time (January this year), as it’s something that holds a huge interest for me.  Apparently, we’re on track to surpass a record high for car production.  The peak output for UK manufactured vehicles was back in 1972 when total output was 1.92 million vehicles – something that might surprise those of you old enough to remember an era associated with industrial strife and the dark days of British Leyland!  It looks like that, by 2017, we’ll have beaten this record and this time, there won’t be a Morris Marina in sight!

 

So, next time anyone tells you that we don’t make anything in the UK more, tell them that we’re on track to have a higher output from the automotive sector than at any time since Ted Heath was in power – that might just shut them up!

 

Anyway, I’m off down to Solihull on Wednesday to have a look around the Jaguar – Land Rover plant. That should be a fun day out – I’ll let you know how it went next week.

 

Oh, maybe one of the manufacturers might want to celebrate this milestone by putting one of their 1972 models back into production.  Anyone at Ford listening?  Can I have another Zodiac please?  Oh go on…