This section will include Company Press Statements and Reports,
along with newspaper articles

News Articles 1905 to 1940

The items will be in chronology order, with the latest additions in Blue

August 1906

First Production Cars Delivered

A 25hp Austin car, one of the first completed vehicle was delivered to Richmond in Surrey. It had a useful-looking hood and a movable weather screen. A small window in the back allowed the driver to see right through when reversing.

1907 Olympia Motor Show

A complete vehicle, absolutely adapted for touring, which one would not have expected to find upon a French stand. It is an 18-24 chassis, with side entrance body covered by. a very workmanlike looking hood., constructed with mi obvious desire to combine the maximum of shelter with the minimum of air resistance and the Thole is the work of the Austin Motor Company of Longbridge, near Birmingham. Since memories are apt to be short and facts are many, it may be observed that the founder of the company was for many years principally responsible for the Wolseley. designs, and that, whatsoever may have been said against the old Wolseleys on the ground of want of elegance and refinement, no man ever had the hardihood to suggest that they were not wonderful maniples of thorough and conscientious work.

Mr. Austin is not likely to have grown less intent upon strength; he will probably not thank one who congratulates him upon having combined it with more refinement of lines than he was wont to manifest in the days which are gone by. Of the on which is in most constant demand and likely so to remain, that is to say the cap for the general practitioner in country districts, who must go out (and be sheltered from the weather) at all hours, who desires reasonable economy in running, who likes to time his appointments on the basis of 18 miles to the hour (which is the actual case of a friend using an 18 h.p. Daimler of now obsolete make), this Austin car strikes one as being very nearly if not quite the ideal thing.

September 1910

Bert King,
Who's Check Number was One

BERT KING might not be everyone's idea of a shareholder, for he is just an ordinary chap doing an ordinary job, but as a BMC. World reporter found when he chanced across him in West Works Sawmill, he is a man with a certain claim to fame.

Bert joined the Company in September 1910 as a 'six-bob-a-week ]ad', determined to learn the trade of wood machining, and this he has done, for in his 50 years at Longbridge be has never left the Sawmill.

'But my main claim to fame is that for a number of years I was an Austin Motor Company employee with check number 1. This came about in 1914-and I held this number until 1944, when they added a couple of noughts and made me 100,' explained Bert with a grin.

'My being a shareholder came about n 1935, when the Company presented long-serving employees with "A" shares, the number being in accordance with their service. I received 25 shares, and as in those days there weren't many people who received them, I imagine I may now be the Company's only shopfloor shareholder.'

Being a shareholder is a responsibility Bert takes very seriously. 'I have the right to attend and vote at the Company's annual general meeting, and this right I exercise regularly. The shares bring me in a regular sum every year, and have made me very interested in the stock market and share prices.' Next year Bert will be 68, and has already turned his thoughts towards retirement. 'I do not plan to go this year, for I still have plenty of work left in me, but next year-well, I suppose I will be saying goodbye to a lot of old friends.'

25 November 1911

Austin Motor Co. Taken to Court

At Bromsgrove County Court on Monday last the Bromsgrove District Council sued The Austin Motor Co, Ltd. for £16-11s-4d. This was in connection with the damage done to the Councils Road (Rose Hill Gradient) because of the extraordinary traffic, as the Company were using the hill for testing. It was stated as many as 80 vehicles a week were using the hill and this extra traffic had incurred the council in extra costs to maintain the highway.

The defence pointed out that the Highways Rate had gone down during the period from 9d to 6d in the Pound.
(The Highways Rate was the amount paid in the pound based on the rateable value of a Landowner property, which went to pay for the maintenance of the highways) So if the road was fit for traffic, then the Austin Motor Company was entitled to use it as much as it likes. The case was dropped, with Bromsgrove District Council paying costs.

October 1912


Founded six years ago on a site at Northfield, eight miles out of Birmingham, on the Bristol road, the Longbridge works of the Austin Motor Company (Limited) now gives - employment to some 1,800 workpeople. The founder of the - business, Mr. Herbert Austin, constructed, one of the first motor cars ever built in this country, and was formerly associated with the tool and motor-car works of the Wolseley firm. During the first year some 50 hands were employed and about a dozen cars turned out, and from this small beginning the progress has been such that the output has now risen to over 1,000 cars a year, in addition to electric lighting and marine sets, while almost the last available space on the eight-and-a-half acres of ground in the company's possession is now being covered with workshops.


From the reception departments and rough stores, the material passes to the machine shops, where may be seen many tools specially designed and constructed in the firm's own factory to deal with work in a way which cannot be done by any purchased tools the firm have been able to find. The main shop is systematically laid out, long rows of small capstan lathes being ranged across one end, followed by the large capstans, the lathes, and the milling tools. Another large shop houses an extensive tool room, and the plant here includes a large number of grinding machines, 24 vertical drilling machines, and a 12-spindle drill, with which all the holes in an engine casting or gear-box can be drilled out simultaneously. There is also a set of three specialty-designed boring machines, which bore all the parallel holes in a gear-case or crank casting at once, with the line of every hole absolutely dead true with the rest. Another feature of Austin car construction is revealed by a La Pointe broaching machine engaged solely on the work of cutting the series of six key trays with which all wheels - or other parts attached to and turned by working shafts are secured, a method which has much the same result as if shaft and attachment were cut from the solid and which renders such an accident as sheared keys almost impossible. All camshafts are cut from the solid by tools specially constructed for the purpose, the machine having an ingenious arrangement by which the different cam formers are brought successively into operation. Another interesting special tool 15 a flywheel balancing machine, with which flywheels are spun for balance in all directions so that absolute balance may be secured, a point of no little importance in connexion with quietness and smoothness of running in high-speed engines. The company have also installed a series of automatic tools of various descriptions, which cut off from the bar and entirely shape a great number of the smaller parts of the car almost without attention. Among them are several new tools designed by Mr. Austin, with extra strong beds and very massive saddles, the object sought being to avoid the possibility of spring when fairly large work is being done, and thus to ensure accuracy of work. From the tool shops all the work passes to the viewing rooms, where every part is criticality examined before being accepted for storage and use. Every gear wheel for instance, is tested under a Brinnell ball testing machine. Again, each spring as it is received is tested and its individual variations from the standard recorded before it is put into the stores, and when springs are required for a ear they are selected to meet the requirements of the individual vehicle and its designed load.


Similar care is bestowed on the assembling and testing of the cars themselves. The engines are tested for power with their own carburettors and magnetos, enclosed water-cooled Prony brakes being employed except for exceptional and experimental work, for which an electric test of the power produced is arranged. After passing the test bench the engines are taken to pieces, examined in every detail, re-erected, and again tested before being passed out to the chassis erecting shop. A similar test is given to both gear boxes and back axles, the gear boxes are mounted in a dummy chassis and run in their place on the car by means of an electric motor, which takes the place of the engine, while the axles are mounted in a chassis and run in by power obtained from the line shafting until they pass the test for quietness of operation and smoothness of working. The card system is employed in con-flexion with the work and a detailed record is kept showing the progress of each chassis through the shops until it has been finally tested and handed over to the finishing department.

The bodies for the cars are also built at Northfield. Since timber requires to be carefully kept in dry, well ventilated stores for several years before it is cut up for use, the company carry a large stock valued at £10,000. This is stored in a shed 100 yards long and 26ft. wide, and, no piece is used which has not been so stored for at least two years. The firm build their own artillery wood wheels, and also make the hubs for detachable wheels, both of the wire-spoked and pressed steel varieties. Metal panels for the bodies are worked to shape from the sheet; this work is done almost entirely by hand, and calls for special skill. The coach-building department, which has been recently extended, is one of the largest in the country.

Austin Motor Company Receivership 1914.

The following announcement has been issued by Messrs. Simmons and Simmons) solicitors, of 18, Finch-lane, Cornhill, E.C. "It is generally known that negotiations for finance for the Austin Motor Company, Limited, have been in hand for some months, but it has been very difficult in view of the continued stringency of the money market to arrange matters on a satisfactory basis. Negotiations are still proceeding, but in the meantime it has been considered necessary to conserve the interests of the business by the appointment of Sir Arthur Whinney as receiver and manager. He will carry on the business pending the formulation of proposals for the reorganization of the company's finances."

6 February 1914

. . . .Agreement Between Herbert Austin, Harvey Du Cros Jr and Frank Kayser and James F White Shares

AN AGREEMENT made the 6th day of February 1914 BETWEEN HERBERT AUSTIN of Lickey Grange Bromsgrove in the County of Worcester Esquire HARVEY DU CROS (Junior) of Longwood Maidenhead in the County of Berks Esquire and FRANK KAYSER of Woodhill Hatfield in the County of Hertford a Major in the 23rd County of London Regiment (Territorials) of the one part and JAMES F WHITE of 44 Bedford Row in the County of London Esquire of the other part.

WHEREAS by an Agreement dated the 6th day of February 1914 and made between The Austin Motor Company Limited (therein and hereinafter called the Old Company) of the first part the said Herbert Austin Harvey Du Cros (Junior) and Frank Kayser of the second part and The Austin Motor Company (1914) Limited (therein and hereinafter called the New Company) of the third part the Old Company with the approval of the said Herbert Austin Harvey Du Cros (Junior) and Frank Kayser has agreed to sell its business to the New Company as from the 30th day of September 1913 in consideration of the New Company allotting to the Old Company or its nominees 399,993 fully paid Ordinary Shares of £1 each in the New Company and undertaking to discharge the liabilities of the Old Company.

AND WHEREAS it is proposed that after the completion of such sale the Old Company shall be wound up voluntarily and that subject to due provision being made for the costs of the winding-up and for the discharge of any and every guarantee given by the Old Company to the New Company in the hereinbefore recited agreement for sale and for such (if any) of the other liabilities of the Old Company as may not be taken over and discharged by the New Company the said 399,993 fully-paid shares of £1 each in the New Company (together with any dividends which may be received thereon prior to the division) shall be divided between the said Herbert Austin Harvey Du Cros (Junior) and Frank Kayser in certain proportions which have been agreed upon between them.

AND WHEREAS the said James F White has rendered valuable services to the Old Company in or about the promotion of the New Company and such services were rendered at the request of the said Herbert Austin Harvey Du Cros (Junior) and Frank Kayser and upon the terms that he the said James F White should upon the distribution of the said fully paid shares receive the number thereof hereinafter mentioned.

NOW IT IS HEREBY AGREED AND DECLARED that in consideration of the premises the said Herbert Austin Harvey Du Cros (Junior) and Frank Kayser shall in the event of and upon the said fully paid shares being distributed in the winding-up of the Old Company (a) procure 20,000 of such shares to be transferred to the said James F White in the proportions following namely the said Herbert Austin shall procure 9,333 the said Harvey Du Cros (Junior) shall procure 9,333 and the said Frank Kayser shall procure 1,334 of such shares to be so transferred and (b) procure in the like proportions any dividends which may have been paid on such 20,000 shares prior to the transfer thereof, to be paid over to the said James F White.

As WITNESS the hands of the parties the day and year first above written.
Signed by the said HERBERT AUSTIN

Herbert Austin
in the presence of
14 Regent Street
Law Clerk

Signed by the said HARVEY DU CROS

H Du Cros (Junior)
in the presence of
14 Regent Street
Law Clerk

Signed by the said FRANK KAYSER

Frank Kayser by RHSE Behrend (his duly authorised Attorney)

in the presence of

Signed by the said JAMES F WHITE
James White
in the presence of

14 April 1916

The Austin Motor Company (1914) Ltd

The Annual General Meeting of the Austin Motor Company (1914) Ltd, was held on the 13th April 1916 at the offices of the company, Longbridge works, Northfield, Mr. Herbert Austin (chairman and managing director) presiding.

The Secretary having read the notice convening the meeting and the report of the auditors,

The Chairman, in the course of his address, said:- I am pleased to be able to report that, in spite of the continuance of the war and the extensive changes necessary to cope with the large contracts received from His Majesty’s Government and the Russian Government Supply Committee, the results of the past year’s work has been very satisfactory.

Large Contracts Placed with the Company

The sales aggregated nearly £800.000, and for the most part consisted of goods entirely different from those previously made by the company. This speaks well for the energy and resourcefulness of the company’s management and staff, with the result that further large contracts have been placed with the company, and the order book at the present time reaches the total of nearly £2,000,000. When the war is finished there will be no difficulty in returning quickly to our regular business, or taking up any lines that the circumstances may warrant. During the year several large shops have been built and equipped with plant for making shells, aeroplanes, aeroplane engines, and stampings in the most modern and effective manner, and the results attained have been the subject of very favourable comments. Reports from various quarters go to show that everything supplied by your company has in every case given through satisfaction and upheld our reputation for sound and reliable manufacture.

It may seem somewhat out of place during these serious and unhappy times to offer or receive congratulations on the results of the trading of a “controlled” business; at the same time it is obviously necessary that an undertaking employing over 4,000 hands must take the greatest care to safeguard its resources, or it might very soon become ineffective and a danger rather than a help to the Government, both during the war and also when it is over.

Assisting the Government and its Allies

After peace is declared (and I am sure we shall all be only too happy too hasten its advent) the Government will require the best efforts of its workshops and business undertakings to absorb the men returned to civil life from the Army and Navy, and to produce every requirement within our shores and not have to purchase abroad, and also to manufacture for export the greatest possible quantity of goods that can be sold to other nation and our Colonies. such a result is not to be obtained by badly-managed or bankrupt concerns, and as credits will have to be extended after the war, large sums will be required to finance the stock during manufacture and until cash is received in payment. to look after the future and at the same time, give the Government the best possible value has not been an easy matter, and it will no doubt be increasingly difficult if the war is to continue much longer, so that if our profits are smaller than some would consider sufficient, or not on a par with those of some more fortunate concerns, it can at any rate be taken for granted that the efforts of your management and staff have have been unceasing in their desire to assist the Government and its Allies in their big task. A reputation for good honest work will be a valuable asset in the immediate future, and we feel confident that the product of the Longbridge works will hold its own and amply repay any expense we have incurred to safeguard our good name.

Output Still Increasing

As mention in the report, our output is still increasing, and the sales for the month of March were over double those of March 1915. As to how much further our efforts can be or should be extended it is not possible to say, but it is a comfort to know that the requirements of our big Army and Navy, and those of our Allies, are being day by day more easily met within our shores, and that it is not now so necessary to go elsewhere for our munitions. All this is to the credit of the business undertakings which have done so well, and made such big efforts under very trying conditions.

During the last financial year the works were only closed for a few days for holidays and repairs, and in some of the departments the strain of working six nights or seven days a week was severe. Since early in December, 1915, the Saturday night shift and Sunday work has been suspended at the suggestion of the Ministry of Munitions, with the result that a number of the employees have left to go to other works still continuing the practice. Some general ruling on such an important matter is necessary, as the double pay received for weekend work is apparently a big temptation.

Advice to Workers

Wages and the cost of raw materials have risen to, in some cases, double what they were in pre-war times, but in many directions the removal of the restrictions on output and the work of a simple and easily-learned character done by unskilled labour have resulted in considerable reductions in the final cost, proving definitely that if the workers would only throw off the yoke of the section of their unions who preach “restriction of output as the only means of regulating work and preventing non-employment” they would be able to earn greatly increased wages and ensure employment for every one by making it possible for a large portion of the goods that are now, or were previous to the war, purchased abroad to be made in this country. this is a much more important matter than a fiscal policy, and more hopeful if it could be brought about than a combined effort to restrict German and Austrian competition, because it would be economically sound and of a lasting character. It seems to me that the present would be a fitting opportunity for the employers’ federations and the workmen’s union to get together and discuss the encouragement of the better instants among workers generally and the conditions under which it would be practicable, after we have beaten the enemy in a military and navel sense, to pull together and beat them in manufacturing and commerce. A return to the old narrow-minded ways, small and uniform wages, restricted and misdirected efforts, seems impossible. Both sides would have to make changes, but the possibilities will be so enormous for each party that any throwing overboard of ancient and out-of-date rules would be more than amply repaid. The cost of the war is enormous, and we have not yet finished with it; but if we can commence operations in a well organized way immediately the struggle is finished, the losses will be wiped out in a very short time.

Your directors look forwards to being able to present a similarly satisfactory statement at the next annual meeting, at the same time doing their requirements at a fair and equitable cost. I now have pleasure in proposing:- “That the report and accounts, as printed, for the year ending November 30 1915, be received and adopted.”

The resolution was carried unanimously.

The retiring director, Alderman Albert Ball, JP., and the auditors, Messrs. Carter and Co,. having been re-elected, a vote of thanks to the chairman concluded the proceedings

27 April 1916


The Austin Motor Company (1914) Limited

Passed 27th April 1916 Confirmed 18th May 1916

At an EXTRAORDINARY GENERAL MEETING of the Members of the above Company, duly convened and held at Longbridge Works, Northfield, on Thursday. the 27th of April 1916, the subjoined RESOLUTIONS were duly passed; and at a subsequent EXTRAORDINARY GENERAL MEETING of the Members of the said Company, duly convened and held at Longbridge Works, aforesaid, on the 18th day May 1916, the subjoined RESOLUTIONS were duly confirmed:­

1. That the name of the Company be changed to the ‘AUSTIN MOTOR COMPANY LIMITED.’

That the provisions of the Memorandum of Association of the Company be altered by inserting after sub-clause

3. Thereof the sub-clause following, that is to say:­

To carry on the business of manufacturers of and wholesale and retail dealers in and importers and exporters of munitions of war and armaments of every description and sporting guns and ammunition of all kinds and in particular of guns, gun mountings, cannon, mortars, trench mortars, catapults, rifles, pistols, revolvers, small arms. ammunition, cartridges, shells, fuses, projectiles, bombs, grenades, gunpowder and explosives of all kinds, and any other business or businesses analogous to any of those above specifically mentioned or usually carried on or which it may be considered advantageous to carry on in connection there­with.

4. That the Articles of Association of the Company be altered in manner following, that is to say:­
By substituting in Article 75 - for the words ‘a sum calculated at the rate of £300 per annum’
The words ‘as from the 1st of December 1915, a sum calculated at the rate of £500 per annum and such further sum or sums as the Company may in general meeting determine.’

DATED this 19th day of May 1916

(Sgd) A W Jones

25 March 1918

Letter from Clare Austin.

Hawkesley Old Farm
Longbridge Lane
Nr Birmingham

My Dear Walter

I have just received a letter of yours from my Niece written to my sister Debbie, Mrs Mumns, who has been dead two years, her daughter wishes me to answer if she being not at all well, before going further.

I must tell you I am your Auntie Clare “no doubt, your Father has often spoken of me, I was 77 years last month, and my eyesight is very dim, so you must excuse bad writing. I hope you will be able to read this. I cannot say dear I was sorry to hear of my brother’s death, for it must have been a blessed relief after suffering he must have borne and I pray God has taken him to his eternal rest, his father so often prayed we might be a united family in heaven, there are only two of us left, a Sister much younger and myself now, I feel sure your father had every care and attention while alive that love and care could give him and I am glad he had the little money sent to add to his comfort, I presume the chair was bought with it.

Now I will tell you a little of myself and family. I have had six sons and one daughter, two of my sons Jesus has taken home to live with him, the eldest one now alive is the one who went to Australia with your Father, now Sir Herbert Austin. KBE meaning knight of the British Empire was made so by the King last year. While in Australia he married a Helen Dron of Melbourne. I daresay you know them, they have had three children one boy and daughters, the boy ‘Vernon’ was a Lieut first in the Army went to France at the commencement of the war and was killed two years ago, shot through the heart, to the bitter grief of his parents and us all, a very clever boy and only 21 when he gave up his life, he was brought home to be buried with Military honours at Canterbury where he was a Kings scholar and the place loved. The next son is in business for himself, and Married a Scotch woman with one daughter and son 16 years old, a tall fine lad wanting all the time to be a Solder my third one named after your Father is doing well married a Spanish lady they have no children and my last boy Harry is with his brother Herbert holding a good position in the works.

My only daughter now 36 stays at home with her Mother, given up here life to me, she says humanly speaking it is her care and love that has kept me alive, I suffer much with rheumatism in fact I walk very little and that in pain. I should have said in the beginning that my husband has been dead many years, now my Son Herbert helps us, we have a nice small house quite enough for ourselves and friends to visit us and a lovely garden which is a delight of our daughter. I forgot to mention Harry is the only one to marry an English wife and they have a darling baby girl two years old that comes often to see her grannie, who loves her so dearly a most charming child she is. This house that is now comfortable made so by my Son, is very old.

A castle once stood on the ground where the house now stands, there is a moat surrounding it now and a place where the drawbridge once used to be. Many battles have been fought on it. I presume you are but little affected by this dreadful war, no air raids to frighten you, no food rations that keep you all the time half hungry.

We are only allowed one pound and a half of meat for the two of us a week, and we have not had that this year yet, there are plenty of potatoes, one penny a pound but all else is frightfully dear, an income of £800 a year is only equal to £360 in spending it, and there is the fear of bread been rationed which I sincerely hope will not take place, yet in spite of it all dear Walter, we have so very much to be thankful for. I often read the 103 Psalm as a thanks-giving to God for all the love He has shown all of us in offering us to each other and the mercies that through our days. Surely goodness has followed us all our days. May we all dwell in the house of our God for ever. I shall be very pleased to hear from you and pray I may be alive to receive a letter from you, we are never sure our letters will arrive safely because of the Submarine mines, with love and all good wishes.

Your loving Auntie Clara

God bless and ever have you in His keeping

July 1918

Company Report

The Annual General Meeting of the Austin Motor Company (Limited) was held on Thursday at the offices of the company in Northfield, Sir Herbert Austin, KBE (chairman and managing director), presiding.

The Chairman, in the course of his remarks said:-

I have pleasure in being able to report that the operations of the company continue to expand, and during the Period under review the following increases have taken place in comparison with the preceding 12 months:-The employees, 125 per cent; turnover, 97 per cent; assets, 64 per cent. These extensions have naturally necessitated a proportionately heavy increase in capital expenditure in our works, which we now call the South Works. and at the instructions of the Ministry of Munitions we have erected and equipped, at their cost, two very large Works adjacent to the South Works which we have named the ‘North’ and ‘West’ works. These two works are served by a completely new power units, boilers, engines, coolers, etc, situated to the east of North Works. Each Works has self-contained canteens, ambulance stations, etc, fitted out to the most complete manner. Suitable siding and station accommodation for goods has also been provided. These three, works have been operating at very high pressure, day and night, during the whole of the period.

Site for Further Extensions

Some 60 acres of our vacant land is been levelled. The cost of this work has been rather heavy, owing to the large amount of material it has been necessary to deal with, but the work is drawing to a close and will certainly provide, when finished, one of the most satisfactory sites in the country.

To provide some portion of the accommodation necessary for housing our very large number of employees, we have purchased two farms between the works and the village of Northfield on which we have erected 252 houses and a complete and up-to-date laundry. The portion of the property occupied by the houses has been laid out on garden suburb lines, with proper drainage, gas and water systems, and tar macadam roads, footpaths, etc. The whole of the houses were completed and in occupation before November last (1917), and although the cost of carrying out this work has been somewhat high, the advantages gained by being able to provide for nearly 1,000 of our employees have warranted the expenditure. Sufficient land is still available for the erection of an additional 500 to 600 houses but it is not proposed to do any further building until conditions affecting the cost are modified. The position occupied by this estate is ideal for the purpose. and it has created a considerable amount of public attention and approval.

A building and grounds, formerly in use as a school were purchased at Bromsgrove and fitted up as a hostel This is in occupation and has been a very great conveniences and assistance. Also, to obtain sufficient labour, a large fleet of motor-buses have been built and are running to various centres.To accommodate these a large garage at the works, and two other garages at Bromsgrove and Belbroughton have been erected and equipped.

Preparations For Trade After The War

These extensions have naturally made it necessary to engage a suitable staff to control the work, and throughout the whole of the period we have endeavoured to keep in view a programme for post-war operations which would enable us to employ and make use of the three works and, as far as possible, all the staff and employees. We have drawn up a definite scheme settled on the various articles we intend to manufacture, have designed prepared models, and we are now actively engaged in fixing up suitable relationships with agents and representatives in all parts of the world in which it will be possible for us to operate when peace is declared. I consider that we have to-day one of the most complete and efficient works organisations in the Empire, and we except to be able to occupy a very strong and important position in the markets where the sale of the goods we have decided to manufacture will be effected. In spite of the big extensions in our operations, I am pleased to be able to report that the company is not burdened with any mortgages or Debentures other than the small amount received from the Government towards the cost of building the dwelling-houses on the estate.

“I regret that the necessary restrictions placed on publishing figures and also the fact that we have not yet reached a settlement of our claims for allowances under the Munitions of War and Finance Acts prevent me from giving full details of our doings, but I feel confident that when the time comes we shall be able to place on record a statement which will in every way satisfy our shareholders and give them reasons to be proud of their connections with the company.

20 January 1919

Extraordinary General Meeting

An Extraordinary General Meeting of the Austin Motor Company Ltd was held at the registered office of the company, Longbridge Works, Northfield, on Monday January 20. 1919.

The Chairman and Managing Director (Sir Herbert Austin KBE. MP.) As it will be remembered by most of those present, the company had at the outbreak of war in 1914. just commenced to increased its operations and benefit by the £250,000 new capital received in the early part of that year. Naturally, the outbreak of war interfered very much with progress, and many of the contracts on hand were cancelled or reduced, but demands from our own Government and from Russia soon taxed to the utmost the resources of the works. and in a few months necessitated big increase in the building and plant.

The Manufacture of Shells and Aeroplanes

Early in 1915 the urgent demand for shells developed into a national emergency, and your company stepped into the break, with other firms, and commenced the manufacture of 18 and 15-pounder shells in large quantities. The arrangements made at Longbridge were so successful that almost every shell-making firm in the country was glad to inspect the methods employed, and we were instructed by the War Office to produced and circulate full details of the tools and operations we used to other contractors for their guidance. The result of the manufacture of these 18-pounder shells gave such satisfaction to the Government that your workshops for the forging and machining 9.2in shells. Here again the success attained by improved methods and special equipment soon drew attention from all quarters.

Outputs per man-hour were obtained far in advance of anything that had been previously accomplished, either in this company or elsewhere. When further and larger quantities of 8in. and 18-pounders shells were required in 1916 and 1917, instructions were again received to lay down two very large works, which are now called the North and West Works, to deal with outputs of considerable magnitude. In the contracts for these works, your company stipulated owing to their being laid down on company land, that the company should have an option to purchase both the workshops and the power plant at a valuation at the end of the war.

While these large and important operations were being carried on for shell manufacture, demands were made to increase the facilities for the manufacture of aeroplanes and aeroplane engines, armoured cars, lorries, and electric lighting sets at the South Works. Big shops were laid down for the work, and the output went up by leaps and bounds.

The difficulty of obtaining labour warranted your company in providing accommodation for its growing personnel by purchasing some 128 acres close to the works and erecting thereon about 250 houses, and also in constructing about 35 omnibuses to carry the workers in outlying districts. Two railway stations have also been laid down adjoining the works, and special train services installed to deal with the passenger and goods traffic. During the past year, the total number of persons employed has exceeded 20,000, and the output reached the very sum of £9,276,717.

It has £4,000,000 worth of orders in hand.

03 February 1919

New Investment after the War

The working capital obtained by the issue 7% Preference Shares in February 1914 was expended in increasing the plant, buildings, and operations of the Company, and when the war broke out the contracts on which the Works were engaged were important and numerous, and the Company’s prosperity was at its height. Many of these contracts were necessarily suspended or cancelled in August 1914, but orders were immediately obtained for ambulances and special vehicles, etc. which absorbed practically the whole of the material on hand at remunerative prices. These orders enabled the Company to take up further large contracts for War Munitions, which have since continually increased, and resulted in long extensions being made to the Works. The Company is a controlled establishment.

The success of the Company’s operations warranted the Government in laying down, on the Company’s property, two large works adjacent to the original Works at Longbridge now named the ‘South Works’ for special munition manufacture under the control of the Company’s staff, and these two Works, called the ‘North and West Works were purchased by the `Ministry of Munitions, of White, London, subject to an option for the Company to re-purchase the Works and installation, other than the special machine tools now installed.

All three works are equipped with two power stations and interconnecting electric cables, several of miles of to the Midland and Great Western Joint Railway line, and two passenger stations - for the special use of the employees have been laid down adjoining the Works, enabling the Company to obtain labour conveniently and economically from a wide radius.

The total area of the Freeholds owned by the Company is about 268 acres. Of this an estate of 123 acres, close to the Works, is partially developed as a Garden Suburb: 252 houses are already built, with sewers, roads, club house and steam laundry, for the Company’s employees. There is still room available for a further 750 houses.

A large aerodrome adjoining the South Works is being completed by the Company partly on its own land, and partly on land proposed to be acquired from the Ministry of Munitions. This will largely increase and facilitate the operations in the Aeroplane Department, which achieved one of the largest outputs in the country during the past year.

The Company has established depots in London and Manchester and controls a subsidiary Company in Paris. The production during the past year was over twenty times the pre-war turnover, entirely justifying the capacity of the personnel, the Staff, and Management of the Company.

This large output has been obtained without any additional Capital other than advances from the Government and the borrowings from the company’s Bankers.

"During this period of reconstruction a considerable output was maintained and profits made. To assist in carrying out this reorganization and extension, an issue of £1,000,000 in Preference shares was made in February, 1919, the Board of Directors considering that the provision of the larger amount of capital required to carry on the manufacture should be held over until the works were thoroughly in order, the various markets of the world properly tested, and a good number of the models in the hands of the public.

"The orders and contracts on hand at the present time are more 2.5 times the amount which was anticipated in January 1919, and an examination of the records show that an output of over £10.000,000 will be required to approximately satisfy the demands of the Company’s agents and customers for the present year; an even larger amount is demanded for the succeeding years. This very large production is within the capacity of the works and organization, and the Directors have every confidence in asking for the subscription of the additional working capital outlined in the Prospectus, having satisfied them selves that it can be profitably employed in the business.

We are already turning out 75 Chassis and 25 Tractors per week, and confidently expect by gradual increase to reach by the end of June, the full schedule of output of 200 Chassis 100 Tractors and 60 Lorries per week besides our normal quantities of Electric Lighting Outfits and Spares.

"To conserve the success gained by the Company’s Agricultural Tractors in France, and to overcome the high duties and rates of Exchange, and the difficulties and expense of transport, and also to meet the natural desire of the French farmers to purchase tractors made in France, the Board decided during the past year to increase the capital of the French Company known as ‘Sciete Anonyme Austin’ 10,000,000 francs, and to establish and equip a factory there. A very suitable works have been purchased by the Company’s Agricultural Tractors in France, situated on the main Nord Railway, midway between Amiens and Paris, in a district noted for its industrial advantages. The whole of the necessary power plant, machine tools, jigs and gauges required have been sent over from the Longbridge Works, and are now installed and manufacture commenced. An output of 2,000 tractors per annum is anticipated and satisfactory arrangements have been made for the sale, over a period of five tears, to the eminent form of French Agricultural Engineers – T.H Pilter, Paris. The Austin Motor Company Limited, own about three-fourths of the capital of the French Company, and will receive suitable Royalties for the use of their Patents, Trade Marks, Goodwill, etc.

14 July 1919

Annual Meeting

The fifth Annual Meeting of the shareholders in the Austin Motor Company (Ltd.) was held at the registered office of the company, Longbridge Works, Northfield, Birmingham on Thursday. Sir Herbert Austin, KBE, MP, the chairman of the company, presided.

The Secretary (Mr A W Jones) read the notice convening the meeting, and the report of the directors for the ending 31st december, 1918, which contained a recommendation for a 15% dividend upon Ordinary shares, was then unanimously adopted.

Lieu. Col. Kayser retires from the board this year and did not offer himself for re-election. the other directors and officers of the company were unanimously re-elected, and a vote of thanks to the chairman was passed by acclamation.

Sir Herbert Austin addressed the shareholders as follows:- When we held our last general meeting, the Allies had turned the tide of battle and we were able to regard the future with a great deal more confidence than we had ever experienced at any former period of the war, a confidence justified by the glorious and complete defeat of the enemy on all fronts shortly afterwards. this confidence was not born entirely of the prowess of our Army and navy, although we have never in our history ben quite so proud of the two Services as we have been during the late war, but also because we had at last found that we were able to supply these Services with war material of all kinds in greater quantities and of better quality than our enemies could provide their men with.

Output of War Material

I suppose I may be pardoned if, on behalf of the staff and personnel, I say that this confidence was to some small extent due to the success of the work done at Longbridge since August 1914, a period of almost five years, through to many of us it seems to have lasted nearer twenty. I have on previous occasions during the struggle had to deal with the subject of the efforts at Longbridge in very guarded terms, but now that Peace is signed I would like to take the first opportunity of meeting the shareholders together, to give them some details of what has happened in the works since July 1914. In the first place, the outbreak of war found us in the midst of a very busy period, engaged on the manufacture of a throughly satisfactory car, but cancellations on all sides soon made it imperative to search for other means to keep the works employed. It was found in the direction of supplies of various kinds, such as ambulances, lorries, armoured cars and special vehicles, to the russian Government.

Towards the end of 1914 the supply of small high explosive shells to own forces became of supreme importance, in fact, the want of this item was one of the principal causes of bringing into being of the Ministry of Munitions in the spring of 1915. The company was fortunate in obtaining a small contract early in 1915 for these shells, and to be able to demonstrate to the War Office that they could successfully make them of better quality and at a much lower cost than was previously considered possible. It was this success which brought the company prominently before the War Office,and resulted in orders being afterwards placed in such quantities for large and small shells, aeroplanes and aeroplane engines, guns, lorries, ambulances wagons and carts of various kinds, armoured cars, electric power sets, and a multitude of small details, that the works had to be extended continuously.

Extension of Works and Increase in Employees

At the outbreak of war, our staff and personnel numbered 2,638, and in March 1918 (the period of our greatest effort), we were employing 21,000 men and women. The workshops have increased from an area of 7.5 acres to over 38 acres and, in addition, we were employing several thousands of work people in other works, entirely on our contracts and under our supervision. The freehold land covered by and surrounding the works now amounts to over 300 acres. The gross value of our annual output had risen in 1918 to nearly £10,000,000 or about twenty times the best pre-war year.

Naturally, this was not accomplished without a great deal of worry and hard work, particularly for certain members of the staff, of whom I am pleased to mention Messrs, Harry Austin, superintendent engine erecting shop; H Bradshaw, superintendent 18-pounder shell shop (nights); Myddleton Briggs, works engineer; K Brozyna, chief of experimental department; H C Corber, superintendent body shop; J F Cutts, superintendent tool room (nights); A V Davidge, designer; J J Day, cashier. W Dawson, superintendent 8in projectile factory (nights); F C Dolbt, chief designer (jig and tool); J C Haefeli chief experimental designer; A J W Hancock, designer; J Hanny, chief inspector; C Hervey, superintendent 18-pounder shell shop (nights)l Holbrook, sales department; A W Jones, secretary (days); D Royce, chief store-keeper; Maurice William, production manager.

One member of the staff Mr MacLellan was awarded the OBE, andit would, in my opinion be quite justifiable on the part of the Government if they were to give several other members of the staff who did so much to help to win the war equal recognition of their serviced.

When the Armistice was signed, an almost similar wholesale cancellation of contracts took place as occurred in 1914, but with important differences that the relative size of the works and the problems involved were immensely greater, and the efforts that have since been entailed seem to those concerned more difficult and more worrying than at any period during the war.

The work the company was engaged on at the end of 1918 for the Government was so entirely different to our staple trade, that a large portion of the plant has had to be sold, other machines and appliances purchased, and nearly every one of the machines retained has had to be moved to some other position. Workshops have had to be altered and some others built to bring the factory back again to a balanced condition but, happily, this work is now nearly finished, and this week we are able to say with some satisfaction that we have completed our first batches of chassis of the new 20hp car and the agricultural tractor - some six weeks late, but still of such satisfactory character as will, I feel sure, well repay those whom we have had to keep waiting. During the period of changing over, we have been compelled to finish off a large amount of work belonging to our various Government contracts, and we are still engage on this, particularly in the aeroplane department - in fact, this work has considerably interfered with and delayed our post-war operations.

The Outlook - Success of the Austin Tractor

The shareholder will, I feel sure, be more interested at the present time in some account of what our future prospects are and, in this direction, I am able to give them some figures and facts which should be ample to prove that, given reasonably good times, the works at Longbridge will be able to show as good a result in the future as they have in the immediate past. when the fighting ceased, and we were relived of some of our Government obligations, we were fortunate in having in readiness a programme for post-war manufacture with a definite policy for sales, and a tried and tested car and tractor which allowed our staff to set to work at once and secure contracts from all parts of the world The orders on our books today represent, in gross value, over £6,000,000 and, were we able to accept all we have been offered, we could easily treble this amount.

The success of our tractor in several important trials in France - where it was able to beat all comers - has warranted your directors in arranging for its manufacture in the country as, owing to the restrictions on importation, no other means for securing the market were available. to allow of this being done satisfactorily, the capital of our French Company is being increased to 6,000,000 frances. A suitable factory and additional land have have been purchased at Liancourt, near Greil, on the main line to Parls. It is hoped that this factory will be equipped and in full running order by the middle of October, capable of turning out 2,000 tractors annually. Arrangements have already been made for practically the whole production to be handled by the eminent firm of agricultural engineers Messrs Pilter, of Paris - the chairman of which company has accepted a position on the board of our French Company.

Controlling Interest in a Belgian Company

Together with some Belgian friends of the directors, a small Belgian Company has been formed called “Austin Motor Societe Anonyme,” to handle the sale of the company’s products in Belgium. The company has a controlling interest therein, and a considerable number of lorries have already been sold and contracts secured for cars, tractors, etc.

The shareholders have, on a previous occasion, been advised of the fact that the Company were compelled, in 1917, to purchase land adjoining the works and erect a number of workmen’s houses (252), together with a club house and laundry. these house have been a great help and, as proving the need for the Government housing scheme, although the rents are necessarily high, there is always a long waiting list. As outlined in the prospectus sent out in connexion with the issue of the new capital in February last, the company have exercised their option for the purchase of the north and west works from the Government, on terms which directors consider quite satisfactory.

24 July 1919

Writ issued the 24th day of July 1919



Delivered this 18th day of May 1920 by SHARPE, PRITCHARD and Co of 12 New Court, Carey Street, London WC2, Agents for RYLAND, MARTINEAU & Co of Birmingham, Solicitors for the Plaintiffs.

1. The Plaintiff Company was incorporated in the year 1914 as a company limited by shares under the English Companies Acts 1908 and 1913 and shortly after its incorporation it acquired and took over the goodwill and trade marks of a company of the same name (hereinafter called ‘the old Company’) which was incor­porated in the year 1905 under the Companies Acts 1862 to 1900.

2. The Defendant Company whose primary business is that of manufacturing trenching machines earth excavators and other goods of a like description was incorporated in Chicago in the United States of America in the year 1901 under the name of The Jacob Steel Excavator Company, which name it changed in the 1906 to The F C Austin Drainage Excavator Company. The name of the Defendant Company was again changed in the year 1917 to its present name of The F C Austin Company (Incorporated).

3. The old Company commenced to sell motor cars in the United Kingdom under the name ‘Austin’ in the year 1906, and in the month of April 1909 it obtained registration of the word ‘Austin’ in script for automobiles in Class 22. The old Company registered the mark ‘Austin’ in script to cover automobiles in Spain, the Argentine Republic and New Zealand in 1910 and in Russia in 1911 and the Plaintiff Company effected similar registrations in France in 1914 in India in 1918 and in Holland in May of 1919.

4. The mark ‘Austin’ in script has been used upon the hub caps of all motor vehicles sold by the old Company or the Plaintiff Company since the old Company commenced business in 1905 and it has been used in all or nearly all the catalogues and advertise­ments of both Companies. The great majority of the engines supplied by either Company with motor vehicles since 1908 have themselves been marked upon the crank cases with the mark ‘Austin’ in script.

5. The motor cars from time to time manufactured by the old Company and the Plaintiff Company during the periods of their respective activities have been exhibited regularly at the Motor Show at Olympia and they have also been exhibited from time to time at other shows in the United Kingdom and at Motor Exhi­bitions in Madrid Brussels Paris Petrograd and Turin and have been very extensively advertised. The two Companies have spent very large sums during the past few years in exhibitions and trials and in advertisements and catalogues in which their products have been described by the word ‘Austin’, 80 per cent of which sums or thereabouts have been expended on advertisements and catalogues published in the United Kingdom.

6. In or about the month of October 1917 the Plaintiff Company designed and commenced to build motor tractors and ever since the month of April 1918 or thereabouts the Plaintiff Company has conducted demonstrations of its motor tractors in the United Kingdom. Since the end of 1918 the Plaintiff Com­pany's tractors have been inspected by large numbers of prospective agents and purchasers and in the latter part of 1919 the Plaintiff Company had 6,000 tractors on order, of which 1,900 or thereabouts were expected to be delivered before the end of the year. The Plaintiff Company did in fact deliver 350 tractors or thereabouts before the end of the year and was only prevented by strikes from delivering a considerable larger number.

7. The Plaintiff Company has in each year since its incor­poration sold large numbers of cars lorries and electric generating sets, upwards of 500 electric generating sets having been sold by it in each of the last four years and upwards of 1,000 in the year 1918. Each of the cars lorries and sets aforesaid as well as all those sold by the old Company has borne the mark ‘Austin’ in script.

8. The Plaintiff Company has a worldwide reputation for motor cars and internal combustion engines and the word ‘Austin’ has become a household word to manufacturers and dealers and to the general public in connection with goods manufactured by the Plaintiff Company and by the old Company. A motor tractor of which an internal combustion engine constitutes a very im­portant feature is of a similar class of goods to a motor vehicle and prospective purchasers dealers and members of the public would assume that a motor tractor or internal combustion engine marked with the name ‘Austin’ no less than a motor vehicle so marked had been manufactured by the Plaintiff Company.

9. The Plaintiff Company first advertised its tractor iii the year 1918 in catalogues and descriptive booklets and leaflets and has since continued to advertise them in a similar manner from time to time. In the year 1918 the Plaintiff Company caused to be published articles descriptive of their tractors in the Irish Agricultural Organisation Society Paper, The Motorist and Wheelman, The Motor, The Steering Wheel, The Agri­cultural Gazette, The Motor Traction and other journals and since that year it has regularly advertised them in the usual trade journals as ‘Austin Tractors’.

10. In or about the month of April 1919 the Defendant Company wrongfully began to advertise and offer for sale and have since continued wrongfully to advertise and offer for sale motor tractors and similar goods in the United Kingdom with the name ‘Austin’ as part of their description. In the April number of a monthly trade journal known as The Engineer and in subsequent monthly issues of that journal they have advertised their tractors as ‘Austin Tractors’'. The Defendant Company have wrongfully circulated or caused to be circulated in this country a catalogue containing an illustration of a tractor marked in front with the words ‘Austin Tractor’ in large letters. The Plaintiff Company cannot until they have obtained discovery give further particulars of the advertisements and catalogues published and circulated or caused to be circulated by the Defendant Company in the United Kingdom in which their motor tractors or other goods are described or illustrated as ‘Austin’ tractors or other goods or of the sales effected by the Defendant Company of the goods so advertised.

11. The Plaintiff Company is apprehensive that if the Defendant Company should be permitted to continue to advertise or offer for sale or to sell their motor tractors or other motor goods by the name ‘Austin’ or by a description of which the word ‘Austin’ forms part or with the name ‘Austin’ marked upon them or without clearly distinguishing their goods from those of the Plaintiff Company dealers prospective customers and members of the public and others will be deceived into supposing the goods of the Defendant Company to be the goods of the Plaintiff Company will suffer very serious damage in its business by reason of the wrongful user by the Defendant Company of the word ‘Austin’ and that business will be unfairly diverted from the Plaintiff Company to the Defendant Company.

The Plaintiff Company are apprehensive that the Defendant Company may have already effected in this country sales of tractors or other goods manufactured by them and advertised as Austin Tractors or Austin Goods to the detriment of the Plaintiff Company's business to persons purchasing the same under the belief that they were the goods of the Plaintiff Company or to others but the Plaintiff Company cannot until discovery give particulars of any such sales or of the damage thereby incurred.


1) An injunction restraining the Defendants their servants and agents from using or permitting or suffering to be used the word ‘Austin’ upon or in connection with or as the description or as part of the description of the Defendants' motor tractors motor engines motor excavators or other goods without clearly distinguishing such goods from those of the Plaintiff’s and front advertising offering for sale or selling their motor tractors motor engines motor excavators or other goods described by or marked with the word ‘Austin’ as all or part of the mark or description thereof without clearly distinguishing the same from those of the Plaintiffs and from otherwise leading or inducing or permitting prospective customers dealers or others to believe or suppose that the goods of the Defendants are the goods of the Plaintiff’s

26 July 1919

Poor Roads in Longbridge

The motoring correspondent of the Times, stated that the roads in Longbridge and Rednal were in a poor state of repair and should be avoided.

07 January 1920

Memorandum From Sir Herbert Austin
Works Staff

I have arranged for the new bonus scheme to come into operation as from 5th January, and this will effect all foreman under your control. The method of arriving at the Bonus is as follows:-
3% of the net sales will be divided among the employees who will participate in the new scheme.


Assume that the total weekly sales amount is £150,000 2% of this sum is £4,500 Divide £4,500 by the estimated number of units to be distributed viz. 3330; the result gives the value of one unit as £1.7.0.

If more employees are engaged to participate in bonus, the figure of 3330 Units will be increased, and the value per up-it consequently decreased. It is therefore in the interest of everyone concerned to keep down the number of employees in entitled to participate in the bonus scheme.

21 January 1920

Austin Motor Company Ltd

An Extraordinary General Meeting was held on Wednesday 21st January 1920 for the purpose of passing a resolution to increase the capital of the company to £5,000,000 by the creation of 3,350,000 new shares of £1 each. Sir Herbert Austin KBE, MP proposed the resolution, which after been seconded by Mr Harvey Du Cros jnr. put to the meeting and carried unanimously.

The Company War Work

A year ago we had finished the war, and we were in the midst of cleaning up our munitions contracts. We had five years of extremely successful manufacture of very large quantities of shells, guns, aeroplanes, armoured cars, and other kinds of war requirements, but practically nothing of the goods we made in pre-war times or proposed to make in the future. Our works and our plant had grown to over ten times their pre-war dimensions, and, for this reason, we were very naturally looked upon as a war-time production. The war terminated suddenly, just as at a period when we were at our greatest production. Our contracts were cancelled at very short notice, and this made it imperative to obtain temporary finance. Although we had produced during 1918 an output value at nearly £10,000,000 and your directors had complete confidence in the future, they considered it necessary to reorganise and equip the works for standard manufacture to prove their worth in the hands of our customers, and secure contracts and orders throughout the world.

Our Works and Capacity

I believe we were the first firm in this country after the signing of the Armistice to publish our programme and present to the public well-tested post-war models. We have for instance attained an output of nearly 100 20hp chassis per week long before the Olympia Show in November last, and to-day we should have arrived at double that number. The works cover a total area of roughly, 53 acres. A large steel foundry has been added, capable of turning out 5,000 tons of the finest steel castings per annum. A very large sheet metal press shop has been built and equipped with plant for dealing with the meal panels and frames of the carriage-work, equal to the latest and most advanced American practice. One press alone is of sufficient capacity and powerful enough to cut and form the complete side of a car at one revolution. A very large and complete hardening and heat-treatment shop has been laid down, capable assuring the most accurate results that can be demanded in this very important department of motor-car manufacture.

The West Works has been planned and extended for the making of the carriage-work required for the cars and lorries, and is in my opinion, unequalled in great Britain for that class of work. It is capable of dealing with an output of 250 complete carriage bodies per week. Other shops have been equipped for the building of the wheels, hoods, glass screens, and radiators. The forge shop has been almost doubled. A new blacksmiths’ shop has been built, and all the work, and all the work of this character concentrated in it. A large area has been allocated and equipped for a service department, which controls the stores for spares and the repair shop. In addition to the above, the whole of the plant in the North and South Works, amounting to 2,500 machine, has been put into correct adjustment, re-fixed into its proper position, and other plant purchased or built to balance up the production.

Works Established in France

During the past year your board decided to follow up the success of their agricultural tractor in France in various competitions and trials by establishing works there, capable of supplying France and the french Colonies and Protectorates. These was necessary in order to overcome the high duty, rate of exchange, and transport charges, and also to meet the natural desire of the French farmers to purchase tractors made in France. A very suitable works, together with about 325 acres of land, were purchased at Liancourt (Oise), midway between Paris and Amiens on the Nord main line, in a district noted for its industrial advantages. The whole of the power plant, boilers, engines, electric transmission and lighting, machine tools, jigs, fixtures, gauges, patterns, drawings and all other equipment has been sent over from Longbridge, and is now completely installed and commencing to manufacture. The company own about three-quarts of the capital in the French company, and the remainder is distributed among the shareholders of the Austin Motor Company.

To handle the prospective trade in Belgium in a satisfactory manner, a company called “Austin Motor Societe Anonyme” was formed during 1919 in Belgium with a capital of 500,000f., more than half of which is owned by the Austin Motor Company. A very successful season has just been terminated.

A careful examination of our records shows that it would be necessary to produce a value in 1929 of cars, lorries. tractors, electric equipment, aeroplanes etc., of over £10m to satisfy even approximately the demands of our agents and customers. It is for this reason that we need the extra working capital to complete the pending orders.

At this opportunity, I would like to emphasize the value of cooperation at the present time. It is more necessary now than at any period of the war for the members of our Empire to pull together. The signing of Peace has put an end to the alliance so far as commercial matters are concerned, and we have now to look after ourselves under conditions which are not too easy. Many of our colonial and foreign markets have been fed during the past five lost no opportunity of popularizing their wares. These markets must be recovered quickly in spite of our heavy expenses in the way of increased labour and material charges. Apart from our individual efforts we can, by cooperating together, meet the “common enemy” on more equal terms, and it is here I would strongly urge all our manufactures to join the Federation of British Industries - already the largest and most powerful association in the world. Mere joining, however, is not enough; an active interest is necessary, with a generous support of the weaker and more unfortunate members.

Goods We Are Producing

Our schedule of production, necessitated by the orders already on hand, calls for a weekly output of 200, 20hp cars; 100 agricultural tractors; 60 cwt lorries; 500 electric lighting sets; and a large amount of switchboards and other electric equipment. There is also capacity for 25 complete aeroplanes per week, although we have a number under construction, the output must necessarily be somewhat restricted until the whole subject of civil aviation is placed on a commercial footing recent tests of a single-seater biplane which we have designed have proved very successful.

I do not propose to take up your time by lengthy reference to the cars, lorries, tractors, and the lighting sets, but I consider it would be unjust not to give you some few details of their excellence. Dealing first with the car, we have built and delivered more than sufficient to prove unquestionably that it is a remarkable improvement on any car that we have previously produced. It is very powerful, fast a splendid hill climber, very silent, and owing to its light weight, is economical on fuel and tires. In our frank opinion there is no better four cylindered car made at the present time. The 30cwt lorry is of equal merit, as it largely follows the car, the power and change-speed unit being identical. We have made exhaustive test and have just the same confidence in it as we have in the 20hp car. The agricultural tractor has been tested, over a period of nearly two years. and has obtained the first place in all the competitions held recently in Great Britain and France. The results of the Lincoln trials held in September, 1919, have just been published. This trial of agricultural tractors was the most important that has ever been he;d anywhere, and I am pleased to be able to say that our tractor leads the list in its class, once more proving its superiority. It has been throughly demonstrated through this country, France, Belgium, South Africa, South America and other big centres. It is admitted by experts and famers everywhere to be unquestionably the best. and most successful small tractor produced up to the present. We hope to be able to produce not less than 200 per week in 1921. Many of the parts of the engine interchange with the car, so that the stock of spares carried by agents and clients can be reduced and considerable economies effected.

Electrical Equipment

We have recently completed the test and passed into mass production of a complete automatic lighting outfit, which will give current sufficient for a small country residence, and which we are selling in very large quantities at an inclusive price of about £120. The possibilities of the sale of this type of outfit are enormous. We have three or four other sizes of automatic lighting sets of larger dimensions, scheduled for production, which will enable us to accept orders for outfits up to those required for village and small township lighting.

To sum up, I am sure the results given will give you confidence in the future, the same confidence that your directors feel in asking for further capital, with the object of achieving even greater success; and I believe you will go away with the definite feeling that they have done the best possible in the your interests, and that you have every reason to feel secure as to the future.

26 January 1920

Extraordinary General Meeting

The object of the meeting was to pass a resolution to increasing the capital of the company by the issues of £1,000,000 Six per Cent “B” Preference shares. It was carried unanimously.

The Chairman and Managing Director (Sir Herbert Austin KBE. MP) In introducing the resolution he made the following remarks: Gentlemen, Those of you will remember that before the outbreak of war in 1914 the company commenced to increase the capital by £250,000. But with the outbreak of war, many of the contracts on hand at the time were cancelled or reduced. Demand from our own Government and from Russia soon waxed, to the utmost resources of the works, and in a few months necessitated big increases in the building and plant.

It was in the early in 1915 the urgent demand for shells developed into a national emergency, your company stepped into the breach, with other firms and so commenced the manufacture of 18 and 15 pounder shells in large quantities. The arrangement made at Longbridge were so successful that almost every shell-making firm in the country was glad to inspect the methods employed, and we were instructed by the War Office to produce and circulate full details of the tools and operations we used to other contractors for their guidance. In 1916 an 1917 the orders for the 8 inch and 18 ponders shells received could not be delivered in the time scale required. The Government because we did not have the capacity agreed to built two very large workshops, which are now called the North and West Works.

Although the shell production was increased considerable, the demands were made to increase the facilities for the manufacture of aeroplanes and aeroplane engines, armoured cars, lorries, and electric lighting sets at the South Works. Two railways stations have also been laid down adjoining the works, and special train services installed to deal with the passenger and goods traffic. During the past year, the total number of persons employed exceeded 20,000, and the output reached the very large sum of £9,276,717

A definite policy in advance of the cessation of hostilities, a scheme was drawn up and put into operation, which has resulted in us having orders in our books, two months after the armistice was signed, for nearly £4.000.000 of cars, lorries, tractors, and lighting sets. The orders have been given by the keenest and most important firms in the home country, in the Colonies, and in foreign market. Many thousands of trials have been given of the new models, to the complete satisfaction of every one, and orders continue to stream in by every post.

Most of the foreign and Colonial orders are forPeriods of three years, at increasing figures. At no time in the history of automobile manufacture in this country has such enthusiasm been shown by buyers, or such orders placed, and the resources of the whole workshops and plants at Longbridge will be taxed to the utmost. Unfortunately, it will take about four months to change over the shops and rearrange the plant for the new manufacture, but this is now in full swing, and I confidently expect the works will soon be as busy on the munitions of peace as they were a few months ago on munitions of war.

I am feeling certain that the new capital would be willingly subscribed, your directors have arranged for the options to exercised for the purchase of the North and West Works, the terms arrange in the estimation of your board, being quite satisfactory. It is considered that the works are in full swing again they will form the largest and most complete automobile plant in the British Empire. The new capital is being taken up by the Beecham Trust (Limited), of 218 Strand London WC. on terms agreed by your directors on behalf of the company, and it is proposed by the Beecham Trust (Limited) to issue the offer for sale to the public in a few days time.

June 1920

Sixth Annual General Meeting

The sixth Annual General Meeting of the Austin Motor Company was held yesterday at Longbridge Works, Northfield, Birmingham. After the Secretary Mr A W Jones had read the notice convening the meeting, the directors’ report and accounts for the years ending 1916, 1917, 1918 and 1919 were formally adopted.

The Chairman Sir Herbert Austin KBE then addresses the meeting as follows:- Ladies and Gentleman. This period covers four very strenuous years, during which an immense amount of work was done, but the most trying time was undoubtedly the year 1919, as owing to the difficulties experienced in securing the cooperation necessary from outside contractors to make a rapid transformation to peace-time manufacture, the staff and employees were called upon for efforts even more onerous than at any period of the war.

It is a great relief to say that these efforts have not been in vain, and the policy and programme laid down before the Armistice have been entirely successful. In making this statement I do not wish to suggest that there is any intention of relaxing those efforts. As a matter of fact, the enthusiasm and determination is greater than ever, but I consider that the thanks of the shareholders are due to those responsible for the work done to place the company in the proud position in which it stands to-day.

After the exhausting period which the whole world has lately passed through it is difficult even for the most optimistic to imagine that the future will not bring some troublous times, but in such a case the thoroughly efficient organization and equipment now possessed by the company, backed up by the determination of its and employees, gives the best possible security that could be demanded of an industrial undertaking.

15 June 1920

Reply to a Newspaper article

Reference was made in one of our daily papers a day or two ago to the motor-vehicle trade, and it was suggested that the "boom" was over. Such a statement was, to say the least, unfortunate, aid the author of it badly informed, as it ignored the fact that no other means can possibly be applied, except mechanical traction, to rehabilitate commerce and restore civilization to even its pre-war level in a reasonable time. Every one is clamouring for a big decrease in the cost of living and a replacement of the amenities of civilization we possessed in pre-war days. To obtain these we must have greater efficiency and more effective output.

The Colonies are in, even more difficult position than the Motherland. The Empire cannot afford to obtain its supplies from outside. We must produce more food and more necessities within our own shores. Railway services can only be installed over a long period. Road locomotion and traction must supply their place, for the present at any rate. To grow more food additional labour must be put on the land. Tractors and improved machinery are the only possible solution; the means formerly employed have been largely destroyed, and in many parts there are five years' losses to make up.

The Negotiations With An American "Combine"

These are some of the facts which determined your directors to hasten the efforts and sanction the expenditure of a large amount of capital for reconstruction, also to flx on a programme of manufacture which would supply a world want requiring several years to accomplish. The shareholders may now look forward with confidence to the future. But to secure the results desired and enable the efforts of the works to be fully effective, the finances of the company should be sufficent to give ample scope, and to relieve any anxiety as to our being able to meet all contingencies that may arise. It was with this desire that your directors decided to recommend
the increase of the capital in February last to £5,000,000 knowing that the programme of output and sales embarked upon would require the full amount to support it, and that the prospects warranted such an increase. At that period negotiations were in progress for an amalgamation of interests with a large American "combine" which it was considered would remove some of the possible competition in our foreign markets, and to carry this prospect into effect 1,850,000 Ordinary shares were reserved to be issued at par should the negotiations be successful. They have not yet borne fruit but other efforts are being made in the belief that benefits would result to this company from such an amalgamation. Should it be found, however, that a suitable and advantageous agreement cannot be effected, the balance of the Ordinary capital will be issued as and when the directors may consider it advisable.

Since our last meeting the requisite proportion of Seven per Cent. Preference shareholders have given their consent to the increase of the borrowing power to £1,000,000.

30 July 1920


Record of average wages and materials at present being expended by The Company, for which no revenues received. Alternatively it has to be taken from The Company's weekly cash receipts owing to the present position with regards to capital fund.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A. . . . . . . . . B . . . . . . . . . C
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Materials . . . . .Wages . . . . . Average
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .per annum . . . .per week. . . .per week

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..£ . . . . . . . . . £ . . . . . . . . . .£

Aeroplanes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .200
Bus Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..130
Bromsgrove College . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..39
Capital Account . . . . 210,000
Cars and Lorries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..19
Estates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..200
Excess Stock . . . . . . .400.000
Electrical . . . . . . . . . . 52,500 . . . . . . .526
Excess Guarantee . . . . . 4,000 . . . . . . . 25
Engineers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .900
Experiments . . . . . . . . . 4,000 . . . . . . .112
Flying Ground
. . . . . . . 3,750 . . . . . . .420
. . . . . . . . . . .90,000
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 320
Overtime / SO
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 687
Tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,020
Welfare . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .85
Waiting Time . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .106

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 764,250 . . . . . .4,116 . . . . . . ..673


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £ . . . . . . . .. …. £

. . . . . . . . . . Stock purchased . . . 1,132,812

. . . . . . . . . . Materials used
. . . . . . . . . . Cars . . . . . . . . . . . . . .571,646
. . . . . . . . . . Tractors . . . . . . . . . . . .93,478
. . . . . . . . . . Spares . . . . . . . . . . … . 55,000 . . . . ..720.124
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .______________________
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 720.124 . . . . . . 412,688

  1. 1) Figures in black represent proportion of Stock used and converted into cash by Sales Products.
  2. 2) Figures in red show invoice values of goods purchased for production during the months referred to.

14 August 1920

14th AUGUST 1920

I have given a great deal of thought during the last two months:- the period of me holding a position at Longbridge – to the affairs of the Austin Motor Company.

I am anxious that my colleagues should have before them – for what it is worth – the result of my consideration of the general situation and of certain important particulars; hence this memo.

I was confirmed, early, in my first impression that the Company was under-capitalized by various talks with the Chairman, and though I must say at once that I do not now hold so strongly as I did that that impression was sound, I set to work to find amongst my friends some who would be prepared to back an issue of more capital, whether in the form of Debentures or, preferably, Short Term Notes. In this connection and also because I was constantly hearing rumours that the finances of the Company were in an unsound position and that we were selling under cost price, which would be disastrous in view of the fact that the Motor Trade was bound to experience a formidable slump, I obtained the Chairman's assent that the Company should call in an independent Accountant and charge him with the duty of making a thorough investigation. I had heard of, though I had never met, Mr J Davie, of Goddard, Dunkley, Davie & Fryer, who, during the War, had done some very good work for us at the War Office on costings investigations, and I approached him with a request that he would undertake the enquiry. He asked what he was to regard as the objective and I informed him that we were considering the question of asking for more capital, and that we wanted to have some independent expert advice as to the real necessity for and justification of, say, an additional £1,000,000. At the same time, I told him that the Board heard rumours or, at any rate, I did, that we were selling under cost price and losing instead of making money. He said that it was not easy to report on the latter point in a short time, but with that warning he would set to work. He understood that the time was short, as the Bank and other Creditors were pressing the Company.

His report reached the Board at the beginning of the second week in July, Mr Davie having paid his first preliminary visit to Birmingham on the 18 June. Copies of the report were circulated to Directors.

On the receipt of this report, various financial interests were approached but, in every direction, there was marked reluctance to assist. As some of these were, I am sure, really desirous of helping, I was forced to the conclusion that the general prospects of the Motor Market were not the only obstacle, because the report and the figures of our output, and the state of the Order Book and the general position of our surplus of assets unencumbered with first charges, except the comparatively trifling mortgages on the Estate and North and West Works, seemed to show incontestably that the Austin business was not affected, at any rate as yet, by the alleged slump, and was not likely to be affected for some time.

In the course of the preparation of the Davie report, I had had some difficulty in getting him to make certain alterations which, from our point of view, improved the general tenor of the document and, according to the facts, were justifiable, and in the discussions which took place in the course of overcoming that difficulty, I found that the organization – not the personnel – at the Works did not seem to be adapted to giving a ready response to requests for guidance and information. The principal point involved seemed to be that of the actual stock position.

Again, ever since I
have been connected with the Company, there has been a running fight with the Bank, and gradually I have come to take a share in the skirmishes. Week by week I have been consoling myself with the thought that the position was being set right; on the one hand, output and receipts were increasing and on the other purchases were being reduced. Nevertheless, the adverse state of the balance remained and, indeed, was increasing in intensity.

I thus concluded that something which I had not detected was radically wrong and I set about trying to find what it was. At first, the point that struck me most was the absence from the organization of the administrative staff of any section or department whose duty it was to call for and receive and co-ordinate,
as a part of the normal routine, the varied information which would show at a glance the true position from day to day and week to week. The only returns that reached me automatically were those relating to Output and Sales, but these did not help much, for the Output returns threw no light on the stock position and the Sales returns were incomplete statements of cash receipts. I asked for, but never received, regular information about the fluctuations in the Bank Balance. The returns I did get came from various quarters and were not brought into relation with each other, while the bulk of the information necessary to the realization of the position which caused us all so much trouble and anxiety had to be probed for in various quarters, to which there was no guide or signpost to help me to securing direct access.

At the same time, there was full evidence that everyone was working hard and, indeed, that most were being overworked.

The difficulty in finding the information I thought necessary convinced me that the administrative organization is weak. That perhaps does not matter so much, as administration is only a means to an end. What bothered me more was that evidently there was practically no organized system of financial control.

In the course of Mr Davie's investigations, I found that the cost accounting system was extremely efficient and that the ordinary finance accounting was well done and up to date. The importance of producing accurate records of the company's operations and the allocation of expenditure to the material, the labour and the on-cost items of the Company's products was fully realized. But all this seemed to have no bearing on the rate or magnitude of the Company's use of its, or the Banker's money, nor on the accumulation of the Company's commitments with suppliers. In other words, while events in the money aspect were being recorded and accurately assigned to the events culminating in a product which was being sold, there appeared to be no-one controlling and marshalling those events in such a way as to make certain that each was conducted in the way most economical in the final result. And what amounts to the same thing, no-one was in a position to say at any given period what the company's position really was.

The Bank position grew no better and the Creditors' demands grew more insistent.

I then settled down to see first whether there was any unproductive expenditure and ascertain why it was and the amount. I started with the Housing Estate and found that we were losing over £10,000 a year, and even so were setting aside nothing for the redemption of the Government Mortgage of £75,000 or the reduction of the Bank Overdraft of £200,000.

Next I looked at the Hire Department figures and in these I got lost, one calculation showing a profit and another a loss. Then came the Welfare side and this too showed losses even when the quite satisfactory receipts from the Cinema were taken into account.

Lastly, I glanced at the Aeroplane work and found that though this was supposed to be moribund there was a great deal of expenditure going on, for which, as we are not selling Aeroplanes, there can be no return except at the expense of the profits of other lines. So too with the Aeroplane Ground.

But in a sense, these charges did not seem to me to account for the pace at which the Company's difficulties seemed to be proceeding and, indeed, increasing.

Again, no returns were forthcoming automatically to tell the Management what place these charges had in the general picture of the Company's affairs.

In Mr Davie's report was a reference to the stock position and its importance in ascertaining the amount of profit or loss being made, so I asked the Cost Accountant if he had any figures. He has, and very disturbing they are. They show at a glance one of the chief causes of our present difficulties. Month by month, notwithstanding our output, the value of the amount of stock being translated into money, increasing though it is, is being pursued by a more than equally increasing purchase of stock. We have of course a heavy burden which, naturally, the Bank refuses to help us to bear, in the debt on the Estate and the loan to the French Company, but even if these were wiped out, the failure of the completed products to overtake in value the increasing stream of inflowing stocks would be costing us very large sums even if, as I anticipate, it did not land us very soon in 'Queer Street’. The attached statement shows the figures month by month. Relief from the burdens of this Estate and the French Company would give us an opportunity to make an adjustment of the stock burden. There seems to be little chance of such relief at present and, in any case, the adjustment would be simply shifting the load, or a part of it, from the Suppliers to the Bank, and if the present want of balance were not corrected, the weight on each would soon be as heavy as before the relief.

In the ordinary and natural course, the stock must become balanced. That is our hope, but we have no assurance of it, nor do we know that we shall be able to last out the ‘ordinary and natural course' – in fact, we know that the Bank and the Creditors will not wait. There seems to be no systematic co-ordination of the facts to ensure that anyone can give an assurance on the point or make any reliable estimate, nor, which is more to the purpose, does it appear to be within the duty and the power of any official of the Company to see that effective use is made of the results to be obtained by such co-ordination and, day by day, insist upon restriction of purchases or stock commitments to the real needs of the programme. Supplies keep on being ordered and invoices come tumbling in quantities, and at times, which render it absolutely impossible to control the financial position, and it is quite certain that the orders have very largely no reference to any programme that is
immediately possible. Some steps must be taken, in my opinion, to regulate all this and at once.

The departments and officials concerned are, I think,

1) the Production Manager,
2) the Chief Buyer,
3) the official responsible for the custody and issue of stocks,
4) the official responsible for watching and reporting the financial aspect of all the operations of the Company's departments.

I am not sure who No 4 is – I can't find that he exists – and No 3 certainly does not. These four, when found, should meet constantly and, failing a Secretary or General Manager, No 4 should be responsible for such meetings and for reporting regularly to the Managing Director what they are doing. To start this, I propose that, for the purpose, I should be regarded as though I were Secretary and General Manager, and that we should get to work at once. There is no time to be lost.

I find also that there is another factor affecting the realization of profits. In certain directions expenditure is going on which either is an unduly and dangerously long time in producing a revenue, or is certain never to produce one at all. This is all in addition to the unproductive expenditure I had already enquired into. The attached statement gives the particulars. Again, it is no one person's duty to report this, nor is there any official who has it in his power to control it. But something must be done and, again, I urge that it must be done at once. The figures are alarming and amount in the total to over £1,000,000. This too I recommend should be taken in hand by the Committee I have named above, or one of somewhat similar constitution.

It may be objected that all this is not my business but the Managing Director's, and ultimately, of course, the responsibility is his and the Board's. But no Managing Director of any concern with an actual turnover of £7,000,000, and a prospective one of £13,000,000, and a capital of £3,500,000, can work except through a subordinate organization; and that organization must have definite responsibilities of its own, both the chief officials of it and the whole under one co-ordinating head. The Managing Director should be concerned with policy. Every moment he has to give to detail brought to him by one or other of the numerous Departmental Managers has to be taken out of the all too limited time available for the more important questions requiring reflection, negotiation and preparation of all kinds. Moreover, decisions on piecemeal references to him must be hurried and adequate time cannot be given to the co-relation with other aspects of the subject referred, which is so necessary to a proper decision, and constant reference to the Managing Director saps all real responsibility in the Departments.

do not for one moment want to suggest that any organization under the Managing Director should be adopted at all comparable in complexity with that which is forced upon Government Departments by Statutory and Parliamentary rules, and the exigencies of often ill-informed public opinion. A quite simple organization should suffice; at present I can find practically none at all. The organisation must serve the Managing Director largely by relieving him of detail, and must serve the Board by the presentation of periodical statements informing them of the progress of the business. Its main object at the moment must be to master the financial and stock position and, on behalf of the Managing Director, effectively control it. First every possible economy must be sought for and insisted upon, and then all expenditure must be refused which cannot be justified as necessary to the only purpose for which the Company exists, viz to make money. In other words, we must have adequate administrative and financial control.

The ideal, in my opinion, would be the appointment – whether from the existing staff or from outside – of a General Manager. In the interests of economy, he could also be Secretary. Also a centralized system of store-holding should be set up and a principal store-holder appointed. Financial control and advice should be similarly centralized. Lastly, the Chief Buyer should be more independent, and both he, the Chief Store-holder and the principal Financial Officer should be directly under the Secretary and General Manager, and alongside the Efficiency, Production, Sales, Labour and Works' Managers.

(Sgd) R W Brade
14th August 1920

Accounts 1920-21

Austin Motor Company Accounts

The report of the Austin Motor Company states that the trading loss, before providing for depreciation of stock and tools, for the two years 1920 and 1921 was £381,923 (including normal depreciation of £123,824). The amount written off, stock and tools, the debt due by the Socete Anonyme Austin, and compensation for delayed payments, etc. is debited in the balance-sheet at £1,951,924.and after deducting the balance brought forward and reserves there is a debit to profit and loss account of £1,883,601. the directors consider that it will be necessary to depreciate the following items under the headings of investments at £212,441 along with the Longbridge Estate and flying ground at £247,842 to the extent of about £300,000, and when more normal conditions prevail to review the value of all assets.

Since the date of the accounts the first mortgage notes have been paid off, and a first debenture issued for £200,000. The bankers’ loan has been secured by the issue of second debentures for £285,000, and the Government mortgages £248,000 has been exchanged for third debentures, and about £1,106,650 of the sums due to sundry creditors will be converted into an issue of a fourth debenture.

13 May 1921

Loan To Austin Motor Company

It is announced that all the additional finance required to put the Austin Motor Company on a sound financial basis has been definitely settled, subject to the approval of the creditors of the company. The loan has been privately arranged through Messrs. W.P. Bonbright and Co., 16, George Street, E.C. 4. and will not be put on the market, nor will there be any public issue.

Accounts 1922

Austin Motor Company

The accounts of the Austin Motor Company for 1922 show a gross trading profit of £198,835 to which is added reserves at 31st December 1921, not required (£60,000) and discounts, interest etc. received (£23,527) giving a total of £282,362. Interest on mortgages and debentures and premium on first mortgages debenture amount to £52,256; directors’ fees to £3,626; a sum of £76,4111 is allowed for maintenance of buildings etc. and £71,504 for depreciation. There is left a credit balance brought forward to £1,805,037. The directors state that that they did not resume active control of the company until 5th April 1922; too late to make adequate provision for the busy season. Strenuous efforts have been made to get back some of the pre-war export trade, in order to maintain sales during the slack home season. The accounts have been held over since May in the hope that a reconstruction scheme might be submitted at the same time. It is stated that while there has been progress in this direction, further delay will take place before a final agreement can be arrived at. The next accounts will be for nine months to September 30th it having decided to revert to that date as the end of the financial year. The preceding accounts covered the years 1920 and 1921 and showed a trading loss of £381,923 and a total debit balance after writing down stock and tools, and absorbing the balance brought forward and reserves of £1,883,601.

08 August 1922

New Austin Seven Light Car

There have been many attempts to design a car - which would replace the motor-cycle and sidecar as a family conveyance. So far the latter type of machine has more than held it's own.The Austin Motor Company are among the latest to attack the problem, and the outcome of the effort should be distinctly interesting.

The new Austin of seven hp. is designed to carry a man and his wife and three children,and it is stated that in tests already made a speed of 52 MPH has been obtained,and that a consumption trial resulted in a satisfactory figure of 78 MPG.If the little car is soundly planned and constructed, and the initial price is kept near to the £200, mark, as it is hoped that it will be, we hall certainly be nearer popular. motoring than heretofore.

The model is "orthodox in the general scheme, having a four cylinder water cooled engine, which is specified to give off 10HPat 2 400 RPM. A three speed gearbox, rear live-axle with differential gear and torque tube, half–elliptical transverse spring in the front and quarter-ecliptics at the rear, and adjustable worm and sector steering are among the principal chassis features.

The braking is done on all four wheels, on the application of front and back sets is separate. The coachwork is arranged with two bucket seats in front, which are adjust-able and detachable, and the rear seat is made for two or three children.

It will be readily seen from the above that the baby Austin is a car and not a compromise of makeshift, and this fact is also borne out by the body being fitted with a hood, the side curtains of which are full and open with the door. The road clearance is 9ins the wheelbase 6ft 3ins, the track 3ft 4ins, and the weight 6.5cwt. all important figures, especially for Colonial use and for popular motoring at home, where garage space is the baulking factor in the solution of many a would-be motorist’s problem.

8 January 1923

American Motor Car Competition.
Sir H. Austin On Need For Combination

In the course of an address at a meeting of the Midland Branch of the National Union of Manufactures in Birmingham today, Sir Herbert Austin MP., said he anticipated that this year we should import 50,000 American made motor vehicles, compared with a home production of 75,000.

In his opinion there were too many motor-car manufactures in this country, and they would probably have to combine and economise to reduce costs. The chief factor in the remarkably low selling price of American cars was the narrow margin of profit which manufactures of component parts permitted themselves. In some cases their charges hardly covered cost. Much could be done by British workers emulation American employees, who worked twice as hard as was the practice here. Mr Wilfrid Hill expressed the view that cooperation among the more substantial firms in the motor industry might be of value. He mentioned that only seven motor firms made profits last year, and he foresaw further losses unless there was amalgamation and collective production.

14 March 1923

The Austin Motor Company Ltd


Secretary: A W JONES

to be presented at the

Your Directors are now able to present herewith the audited Balance Sheet covering the two years ending 31st December 1921. They are of opinion that no useful purpose would be served by separating the Accounts for the period under review, during which, as the Shareholders are no doubt aware, the Company had many serious difficulties to contend with, caused principally by the unstable price of materials and labour, delays in delivery caused by strikes, and consequent loss of trade.

The declaration of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1920 that it was the policy of the Government to deflate the currency, and, with the assistance of the financial institutions to restrict credit, caused a slump in commodities and purchasing power as a natural and inevitable sequence.

This policy had the effect of increasing the value of paper securities such as War Loan, etc, and conversely reducing by upwards of 60% the value of Manufacturers' stocks and other assets.

The additional capital obtained by the issue of 6% Preference and Preferred Ordinary Shares was spent when prices were high, and, as a direct result of the deflation policy referred to, values declined, and it became necessary to write down the Stock, Tools, and other assets.

The trading loss, before providing for depreciation of Stock and Tools, for the two years was £381,922 14s 4d, (including normal depreciation £123,824 0s 6d), which loss was more than covered by the reserves shown at the end of 1919.

The debit balance on the Profit and Loss Account after providing for the foregoing and writing down of Stock and Tools, and after absorbing the balance brought forward, and reserves, amounts to £1,883,601.

In the opinion of your Directors, it will be necessary to depreciate the items under the headings of Investments, Longbridge Estate and Flying Ground to the extent of about £300,000, and when more normal conditions prevail to review the value of all the Assets, but as no proposals are being brought forward at present to deal with capital losses, the depreciation, together with the item of Expenses of Issue, etc, will be adjusted at a later date, when a scheme for revision of capital will be submitted to the Shareholders for their approval.

Your Directors, however, consider that profitable trading should be re-established before such matters can be satisfactorily discussed, and they believe this condition is in process of realisation.

Since the 31st December 1921, the financial position has undergone important changes. The first mortgage notes have been paid off and a First Debenture issued in their place for £200,000. The amount due to the Company's Bankers has been secured to them by the issue of Second Debentures for £285,000, and of the Government Mortgages, £248,000 has been exchanged for Third Debentures, and about £1,106,650 of the sums due to sundry Creditors will be converted into an issue of Fourth Debentures.

At the present time the outlook is distinctly encouraging, and the Company is trading on advantageous terms.

The 20 hp car has continued in popularity. The 12 hp car, which was placed on the market at the end of 1921 has proved a great success, and it is expected that with the addition of the new 7 hp car the turnover for 1923 will be considerably increased.

Since the last Annual Meeting Sir R H Brade, GCB, Mr H Marks and Mr S Van den Bergh have resigned and the following gentlemen appointed to seats on the Board from April 1922:

Mr C R F Engelbach OBE
Sir A Hardinge KCB
Mr Ernest L Payton
Mr A T Davies MP
Mr T D Neal FCA

In compliance with Article 73 of the Company's Articles of Association the last four retire and are eligible for re-election.

The retiring Directors under Article 83 of the Company's Articles of Association are Mr Harvey du Cros and Mr R G Ash, who, being eligible, offer themselves for re-election.

The Auditors, Messrs Carter and Co, also retire, and offer themselves for re-election.

6th March 1923

March 1923

Austin Motor Company Accounts

Since the date of the accounts the first mortgage notes have been paid off, and a first debenture issued for £200,000. The bankers’ loan has been secured by the issue of second debentures for £285,000, and the Government mortgages £248,000 has been exchanged for third debentures, and about £1,106,650 of the sums due to sundry creditors will be converted into an issue of a fourth debenture.

The report of the Austin Motor Company states that the trading loss, before providing for depreciation of stock and tools, for the two years 1920 and 1921 was £381,923 (including normal depreciation of £123,824). The amount written off, stock and tools, the debt due by the Socete Anonyme Austin, and compensation for delayed payments, etc. is debited in the balance-sheet at £1,951,924.and after deducting the balance brought forward and reserves there is a debit to profit and loss account of £1,883,601. the directors consider that it will be necessary to depreciate the following items under the headings of investments at £212,441along with the Longbridge Estate and flying ground at £247,842 to the extent of about £300,000, and when more normal conditions prevail to review the value of all assets.

03 January 1925

Financial Results

An estimate of the results of the Austin Motor Co. Ltd trading for the year ending 30th September 1924 has been issued showing a gross trading profit, including discounts and interest received of £470,902. The statement added that the sales to date are satisfactory, and the whole of the output for 1925 has been contracted for by the distributors and agents.

August 1925

Flying Contest At Lympe

The Air Ministry has issued the following first report on the results of the competitions for civilian aeroplanes, recently held at Martlesham Aerodrome:-

The judges’ committee consider that the results of the competitions for aeroplanes show collectively less radical advance in general design than had been anticipated, and that through very useful developments in details design have been produced, which in themselves have justified the competitions, the award of the full prizes originally specified is not warranted. The following sums have, been awarded:-

Small Aeroplane Class

Third prize for £1,500 went to the Austin Motor Company Ltd with the Austin “Kestrel,” fitted with the 160hp Beardmore engine.

In the third day of the Royal Aero Club flying contest at Lympe. The closing race was for machines entered by private owners, with seven started. Flight Lieutenant Chick scored his third victory here, Flight-Lieutenant F O Soden in his Austin Whippet fitted with an Anzani engine took second place.

2 September 1925

Austin Motor Company and General Motors Corporation

In view of the conflicting statements that have appeared as to the position of the negotiations between the General Motors Corporation of the United States and Canada and the Austin Motor Company, we are authorized by Mr J D Mooney, vice-president of the General Corporation, and Sir Herbert Austin, chairman of the Austin Company, to state that, while negotiations are in progress, no definite agreement has yet been arrived at. It is hoped, however, that the situation may have developed sufficiently to permit a detail statement been published on Friday 4 September.

A works’ gala, to celebrate the coming of age of the Austin Motor Company, Ltd. was held on Saturday, at Birmingham, and 25,000 people, consisting mainly of employees and their wives and families, were present. A sports programme was arranged, including several motor-cycle events and a decorated car turn-out. In its first year the Austin works employed 270 person, covered 2.1/2 acres, and had an output of 120 cars. To-day the company employs over 8,000 people, the building extend over 62 acres, and last year the output was approximately 18,000 cars.

3 September 1925

Austin Motor Company Negotiation
The following official statement was issued last evening

At a meeting of the board of directors of the Austin Motor Company, held in London on Wednesday, a resolution was passed approving a provisional agreement to be entered into by Sir Herbert Austin, the chairman of the Austin Motor company, with Messrs Morgan, Grenfell and Co., acting on behalf of the General Motors Corporation. At the same time the scheme of arrangement for giving effect to the agreement and reorganizing the present capital structure of the company was approved and recommended by the board, and will be forwarded to the shareholders as soon as permission of the Court has been obtained to call the necessary meetings of the shareholders to obtain their approval.

Steps are being taken to place the proposals before the shareholders in the course of the next few days. They are therefore asked to reserve their judgment until they receive the same from the directors. Shareholders are reminded that nothing definite can be done without their and the Court's approval.

4 September 1925

Austin Motor Proposals
Director’s Opposition

In view of the statement appearing in the Press and elsewhere, states the Exchange Telegraph Company, Messrs T D Neal and E L Payton, financial directors, and C R F Engelbach, works director, and members of the board of the Austin Motor Company, find it necessary, in order to avoid any misapprehension, to state that, in regard to the American offer and the scheme of reconstruction of the capital of the company incorporated with that offer, they are not in agreement with their colleagues. They consider the reorganization of the capital unsatisfactory. So soon as the offer and the scheme are before the shareholders for their decision, they intend to send out a statement setting out the reasons why they are not prepared to recommend the shareholders to accept either the offer or the scheme.

21 September 1925

Austin Motor Report.

Following the breakdown of the tentative scheme for the transfer of control to the General Motors Corporation, there has been published the annual report of the Austin Motor Company. It is a belated document, covering the year only to September 30 1924, though, in justice to the directors, it must be pointed out that a summary of the balance sheet was published at the beginning of the year, and the issue of the full audited accounts was delayed solely owing to the preparation of the company’s reconstruction scheme. The launching of that scheme has been held up through the negotiations with the American group referred to; but, while the report does not touch upon the matter, it is now presumably the intention of the board to push ahead with reconstruction and thereby pave the way for a resumption of dividends. Gross trading profits for the 12 months ended September 30,1924. amounted to £470,903, as compared with £381,640 for the preceding nine months. Deducting charges for maintenance, depreciation, interest, etc.,there remained a credit balance of£161,174, which reduces the debt and profit and loss to £l,438,404. The board state that the estimated profits for the nine months ended June 30 last were considerably larger than for the corresponding period of 1924, and that demand for the company's products is still in excess of the supply. These conditions emphasize the desirability of proceeding without delay to a reorganization of the capital that shall enable. the company to start again with a clean balance-sheet. Already much has been done in the direction of lightening the burden of fixed charges, the Debenture debt between March, 1922, and September, 1924. by redemption and arrangement, having been reduced by £493,000.

21 September 1925

Accounts ending 30 September 1924

The accounts of the Austin Motor Company for the year ended September 30 show a trading profit. including discounts and interest, of £470.903, which compares with £381,640 for the preceding accounting period of nine months. Interest charges , maintenances, and the depreciation and the other debits being deducted, there remains a credit balance of £161,174. This reduces the debit balance on profit and loss account brought forward from £1,599,578 to £1,438,405. The report states that since September 30 1923, the Debentures have been reduced by redemption and arrangement from £708,000 to £315,000, of which figure £225,000 is represented by Third Debentures (bank) and the balance by Third Debentures. The total reduction of debentures from March 23, 1922, to September 30, 1924, amounts to £493,000. The Third Debenture of £90,000 is repayable at £10,000 per annum, free of interest. Some part of the Longbridge Estate has been realised during the past 12 months and further sales are proceeding. It is stated that the estimated profits for the nine months ended June 30 last are larger than for the corresponding.

24 September 1925

Austin Motor Capital Scheme

The particulars were given in the press for the capital reorganization of the Austin Motor Company, under which it is proposed to reduce the capital from £3,347,909 to £1,950,000 the amount of lost capital written off being £1,397,909. On this basis it is estimated that on a profit of £500,000 for the year ended 30th September a dividend of 10% would be paid on the new Ordinary shares of 6s 8d each, leaving for income-tax reserves and working capital of £285,144.

30 September 1925

Reconstruction Scheme Opposed

There was a big muster of shareholders yesterday at the annual meeting of the Austin Motor Company, Limited, which was followed by an informal meeting to receive the impressions of the various interests upon the proposed scheme of 'reconstruction, the whole proceedings lasting, for nearly three hours.

The meetings, which were held at the company’s works at Longbridge, Birmingham, were presided over by Sir Herbert Austin, the chairman. Moving the adoption of the report, Sir Herbert explained the delay in the presentation of the balance-sheet covering the financial year ended September 30, 1924, as being due to the desire of the board to submit a scheme of reorganisation of the capital. He pointed out that the Debenture charge had been considerably reduced; the First Debentures had been removed altogether with the premium due on them ; the Second Debentures had been reduced by £60,000. and the Third Mortgage Debentures by £158,000. The balance of the Government Mortgage on the Longbridge estate of £75,000 had been discharged. There had, therefore, been a continued advance in the efforts of the board to reduce the prior charges.

Mr. Harvey Du Cros seconded the motion. Prolonged argument followed as to the desirability of the board disclosing how much was paid by the company to Sir Herbert Austin by way of salary, commission, royalties etc. It was stated by, the solicitor that this information had been confidentially furnished to a firm of solicitors acting for shareholders. Ultimately Sir Herbert gave the meeting the figures relating to himself and to certain other directors during the past three years, appealing to the Press and shareholders to treat the information as private.

The report was adopted, and the retiring directors reappointed. At the informal meeting which followed, opposition to the scheme of reconstruction outlined was forthcoming from holders of the Preferred Ordinary shares who expressed the opinion that the scheme asked them to make a greater sacrifice than was being demanded from any other class of shareholder. No resolution was submitted, it being explained that each shareholder would have to consider the scheme separately.

13 October 1925

No Profiteering in the Motor Industry

Sir Herbert Austin, chairman of the Austin Motor Company Ltd in proposing the toast of “The Austin Distributors and Agents,” he said that they were having reinstated the McKenna duties. They hoped the duties might be extended to include commercial vehicle, which had quite as much justification for support as the passenger car. A proof that the duties had not resulted in profiteering was that the public were buying was that the public were buying a much improved car to-day, and were not paying more than pre-war prices for the same equipment.

If the Government would agree to tax on fuel instead of the present unjust system, they could bear with better resignation the uneconomic and costly war in which the money derived from the tax way being expended. Referring to the negotiations which had taken place between the Austin Motor Company and American manufactures, Sir Herbert said that he had asked why he did not marry the American lass. “Well,” he added , her dowry was quite substantial, but my relations did not like her, and, therefore, the engagement had to be broken off. I thought that it would be safer for me to marry her than someone else, also that cooperation would have been better than competition. The future might prove that I was right, but as the scheme has been abandoned, I have resolved to do everything humanly possible to prove that all the agents and friends of the company will assist me in the task.

26 June 1926

Austin Motor Works’ Gala Day

Sir Herbert Austin, Chairman of the Board of Directors and founder of the works, speaking at a luncheon attend by 300 guests, said that the total wage bill was £15,662,000 purchases amounted to £24,237,000 employees insurance £127,600 rates and taxes over £200,000 and charitable subscription £11,000. Since the Armistice 57,000 cars had been delivered. Yet in 1906 the Board considered additional expenditure to enable production to be increased to three chassis per week, and deferred the matter.

21 August 1926

Company Results

The gross trading profits of the Austin Motor Company for the year ending 30th September were £748,800 (against £470.930). from which has to be deducted various charges, leaving a net profit of £447.851(against £161,174). This reduced the debit balance from £1,438,404 to £990,552. Various assets will be written off including £ 165,496 off the Longbridge Estate Laundry and the Flying Ground.

The scheme for effecting a reduction in the capital of the Austin Motor Co. Led. to £2,150,000 by writing off £1,200,000 was submitted yesterday to meeting of the Preferred Ordinary and Ordinary shareholders, and subsequent to an extraordinary general meeting in Birmingham. Because a number of speakers criticised the proposal it was decided to adjourn the meeting.

In November 1927 the company tried again, this time going to Court.

Chancery Division

His Lordship confirmed the petition from the Austin Motor Co. Ltd. for the sanction of the Court to a reduction of the capital of the company.

Mr Bennett, KC and Mr Ceil Turner appeared in support of the petition.

Mr Bennett said that the company, which was formed in 1914, had a nominal capital of £5,000,000 of which £3,350,000 had been issued. It was proposed to cancel £1,200,000.

The losses which the company had sustained were due to the trade conditions at the end of the war. The company had gone in for mass production, and incurred heavy expenses in changing their factories over from war-time conditions to peace-time conditions. Then came the “slump” in trade, and the company suffered heavy loss on that account. The company had, however, been in a prosperous condition since 1922, and had been making annual profits.

His Lordship made an order confirming the proposed reduction.

21 August 1926

Austin Motors Profits.

Shareholders in the Austin Motor Company have just received full particulars of the revised scheme of reconstruction (which is to be voted upon at a meeting called for August 31, together with the accounts for the year ended September 30, 1925. An estimate is also providing results for the year ending September 30 next, and it will be of interest first to compare the profit figures :-

Year ended September 30.

. . . . . . . . . . . .1926. . . . . . . . . . . . .1925. . . . . . . . . . . 1924 estimated
Gross profit . . £626,464 . . . . . . . .£748,890. . . . . . . .£470,903
Fixed charges £297,236 . . . . . . . . £301,038 . . . . . . . £309,728
Net profits . . .£329,228 . . . . . . . . £447,852 . . . . . . . £161,175

It will be noticed, first, that gross revenue in the last completed year was substantially larger than in 1923-24, while there was no increase. but a small decrease in charges, and that, secondly, there has been a partial setback in the gross profit during the year now nearly at an end, accompanied by a further small reduction in charges. Estimated profits for 1926, it is explained, have been seriously affected by the general and coal strikes.

Effect of the Scheme.

From the details given in the report and accompanying circular, it is possible to obtain a clear idea of what will be effected by the proposed reorganization. On September 30, 1924, the company had incurred a debit to profit and loss of £l,433,404.This is reduced to £990,552, after taking in the net profit for the year to September 30 last, and increased again to£l,717,446, after writing down various assets to the extent that is considered necessary. Towards meeting this deficiency a sum of £5l7,446 has been provided. after making sundry adjustments, the chief of which on the credit side include the appropriation of the current year's net profit, estimated at £329,228, and up writing up the goodwill at present standing at £281,122 by £287,408. The deficiency of £1,200,000 remaining is to be met by the reduction proposed in the nominal amount of the Preferred Ordinary and Ordinary shares. By means of this plan the issued capital of the company will be reduced to £2,150,000. The company has already succeeded in consolidating its various classes of debentures, and these will now rank ahead of the share capital one class of funded debt namely, £1,000,000 First Mortgage Debentures, bearing interest at the rate of 6%. Under the scheme arrears of dividend on the Preference shares amounting to£462,500 have to be extinguished before the Preferred and Ordinary shareholders can receive anything. The two latter classes will need, therefore, to exercise further patience, but the vitality shown by the business is such that they can face the future with renewed hope once the balance sheet has been restored to health as it will be by the plan now submitted.When the arrears referred to have been paid off the annual charges against the company in priority to the Preferred and Ordinary dividends will be £l89,500. On the basis of the profits for 1924-25 this was earned with the large margin of£258,000, and if the less favourable results anticipated for the current year be taken as the basis the surplus over annual Preference dividends amounts to £140,000.

01 September 1926

The Austin Motor Scheme. Shareholders Opposition

The scheme for effecting a reduction in the capital of the Austin Motor Company, Ltd. to £2,150,000 by writing off £1,200.000, was submitted yesterday to meetings of the Preferred Ordinary and Ordinary shareholders, and subsequently to an extraordinary general meeting at Birmingham.

The resolution placed before the former meetings in favour of ratifying a conditional agreement modifying the rights and privileges of holders of Preferred Ordinary and Ordinary shares was criticized by a number of speakers, and it was ultimately decided to adjourn the meetings. Subject to confirmation, however, the scheme was approved by the extraordinary general meeting, although confirmation is dependent upon the scheme being accepted when the adjourned meetings of the holders of Preferred Ordinary and Ordinary shares are held on September 22.

Opposition to the proposals was forthcoming on the ground that no dividend, it was suggested, was possible for six years, and Mr Harrison, of West Hartlepool, who complained that the Preference shareholders had no voting power, mentioned that a writ was issued in the High Court to demand that right and to prevent the company holding its annual general meeting. A committee of Preference shareholders, he said, tried to obtain
an injunction, but owing to the short notice received from the company they were unsuccessful. They were advised 'by counsel however, that they had a perfectly good case.

13 September 1926

Austin Prices Down

Reductions in price, ranging from £100 to £4, are announced by The Austin Motor Company Limited, in new models for 1927. The “Austin Seven” has been reduced in price by £4, from £149 to £145 for the touring model, and the new 7 h.p. saloon has been reduced by a similar sum from £189 to £165. The 12 h.p., touring car has been reduced by £20 to £275, and the more expensive models are cheaper in proportion. No radical changes in chassis design or body work are reported.

23 September 1926

Shareholders Opposition
Meetings Again Adjourned

The adjourned meetings of the shareholders of the Austin Motor Company, Ltd. called to ratify the scheme for reducing the capital from £5,000,000 to £3,800,000 were held at Birmingham. It was again apparent that the proposals could not be carried owning to the numbers of proxies lodged in opposition, and after discussion, the meeting was adjourned to a date fixed by subsequent notice.

Sir Herbert Austin, chairman of the company, told the Preferred Ordinary shareholders, who met first, that proxies to the number of 885,372 had been received in favour of the directors’ proposals. There were an additional 42,244 received too late for the present meeting, making a total of 927,616 which represented almost tow-thirds of the entire capital in the Preferred Ordinary class. In view of the fact, however that 360,419 valid proxies had been lodged in opposition, it was obvious that the directors’ scheme could not be carried at present. It was therefore, proposed to adjourn all the meetings to enable dissentient shareholders to give their adherence to the proposal.

23 February 1927

The Austin Seven for the Continent
A German Agreement

Sir Herbert Austin, in a statement last night, confirmed an announced from Berlin that he has concluded an agreement for the manufacture in Germany of the light car widely know as the "Austin Seven" He said that the markets are limited under the agreement to Germany and Eastern Europe. A new plant is being put down at Eisenach. Thuringia. the initial programme aiming at an output of 300 cars a week.

The Germany-built Austin will be named the "Dixi" car. It is to be a replica in every respect of the Austin Seven, which has already attracted a good deal of notice in Germany by its handiness and engineering efficiency. The high impport duties, Sir Herbert said, were an effectual barrier to all but a very small trade in the car from this country, and the manufacture would be carried on in Germany under licence. The agreement was concluded with the Gotha Waggonfabrik Company.

28 July 1927

Reconstruction Scheme Approved

The scheme for the writing down of the capital of the Austin Motor Company was unanimously held yesterday at the works Longbridge, Birmingham.

Sir Herbert Austin, who presided, explained that the number of proxies received made it inevitable that the resolution should be passed. The passing of the resolution would a great relief to the directors, who would be able henceforth to devote their full time and attention to the growing needs of a constantly increasing business. The delay which had taken place in the coming settlement with the various groups of shareholders had, he considered, not been entirely opposed to the best interests of all concerned as, with the large profits earned and the improved cash position, the board had been able to draw up proposals in which no class was asked to make any sacrifice. The company, while carefully consolidating its resources, was making substantial headway, due largely to the loyal and energetic support of the staff, the employees, the agents, and the suppliers of materials.

September 1927

Price Reduction on New Models

Reductions in price, ranging from £100 to £4 are announced by the Austin motor Company Ltd in the new models for 1927. The Austin Seven has been reduced in price by £4 from £149 to £145 in the touring models, and the new 7hp saloon has been reduced by a similar sum from £169 to £165. The 12hp to £275, and the more expensive models are cheaper in proportion. No radical changes in chassis design or body work are reported.

October 1927

Austin Distributors & Dealers Annual Dinner

Responding to the toast of “The Austin Distributors and Agents,” proposed by Sir Herbert Austin, Mr Stanley Anderson, of Johannesburg, said that in South Africa, with the exception of Natal, people showed preference for American cars of higher power than the usual English models. But in the Transvaal we were making steady progress, and I recently persuaded one of the most anti-British Nationalist to buy a baby Austin. He gave it to his wife and she was delighted. (laughter and cheers)

Speaking at the annual dinner of the Austin Motor Company at the Connaught Rooms Covent Garden London, on the 17th October 1927, Sir Herbert Austin said the company was preparing to turn out a light six-cylinder car in large numbers. A German firm had been given permission to construct the “Austin Seven” They were expecting to make arrangements for the manufacture of the car in France and the United States, as there were no prospects of the company being able to export to either of those market.

18 October 1927


Speaking at the annual dinner of the Austin Motor Company at the Connaught Rooms last it night Sir, Herbert Austin said the company, was preparing to turn out a light six-cylinder car in large numbers. A German firm had been given permission to construct the " Austin, Seven." They were expecting to make arrangements for the manufacture of the car in France and the United States, as there were no prospects of the company being able to export to either of those markets.

Responding to the toad of "The Austin Distributors and Agents," proposed by Sir Herbert Austin, Mr. Stanley Johannesburg, said that in South Africa, with the exception of Natal, people showed preference for American cars of higher power than the usual English models. In the Transvaal they were getting on. Recently he persuaded one of the most rabid anti-British Nationalists, to buy a Baby Austin. He gave it to his wife and she was delighted. (Laughter and cheers).

December 1927

Austin Motor Company Outlook

Presiding at the 13th ordinary general meeting of the Austin Motor Company Ltd, held at the Longbridge Works. Northfield, Birmingham, yesterday Sir Herbert Austin, chairman of directors, commented upon the improvements in figures, and referring to the assets, said the company was presenting a very clean balance-sheet. Regarding the company’s 7hp car, he said that it would probably top the list of cars exported from England.

The programme for the year 1927–28 he said, called for considerable increase in the productive capacity of the works, necessary by reason of the big demand which agents were confidently expecting, and for which they had already contracted. To meet this bigger turnover, the company was working at high pressure through the winter months to build up stock, and at the same time making considerable additions to building and equipment.

For the first two months of the New Year the number of cars sold in the home market had increased by 51%, over the similar period in the previous year, and at present there appeared to be no reason why the remaining ten months should not show an even better results. The export trade was increasing, and in some centres gave promise of doubling the past year in numbers. The report, showing a net profit of £406,469, was adopte

August 1928

British cars for New South Wales

In the face of strenuous opposition from America interests, it has been decided that British cars are to be used for the first time in the New South Wales Government Ministerial fleet. The existing American machines are to be scrapped. Orders have been places in England for five high-grade saloons cars, and a 20-70hp limousine has already been delivered to the New South Wales Premier. The decision is of interest, because it is stated that no British car has ever before been used by Ministers of the Crown for their official journeys.

14 August 1928

Austin's Reduce Motor Car Prices

Reductions in the prices of Austin motor cars were announced yesterday. Coming at the time when there was talk of increases, the announcement caused much speculation in the motor trade generally. Only a few days ago rumours of increases were insistent, and then at least two companies who produce light models at popular prices declared that the next movement of prices was bound to begin an upward direction. A representative of the Clyno Company expressed the belief that the increase would be about 5%, and that all the mass-produced cars would have to make the same increase.

The Austin reduction recalls the departure made by two companies the Morris and Clyno few months ago, when they announced new models of baby cars approximating to the Austin Seven, although the new Clyno model was rated at nine horsepower.

Sir Herbert Austin yesterday discussed his reasons for the latest price reduction. "It isa continuation," he said, "of our previous practice of passing on to the purchaser at the earliest possible moment the advantages were able to obtain by increased turnover and improved production methods. Each year our position in these respects has improved, and the substantial reduction now being made in our prices is largely owing to the £600,000 expenditure recently completed for increases in buildings, plant, and equipment." The early announcement was made partly to stop the slump in cars which always occurs at this time of the year owing to the expectation of reductions being announced at the Motor Show.

Captain Grindley of the Car Mart London, expressed the belief that this reduction would result in other companies cancelling their intention to raise prices. His view was shared by many others on the selling side of the industry.

The reductions include the following:-

7 hp touring car, from £135 to £125; 7 hp saloon, from £150 to £135; 12 hp Clifton tourer (five-seater), from £255 to £245; 12 hp open road tourer, from £295 to £265; 16 hp open road tourer from £355 to £315 and the 20 hp six-cylinder Ranelagh, from £675 to £595.

Four and six cylinder ambulance chassis are £295 a reduction of £30

Standard ambulance cost £610 instead of £640.

27 August 1928

New prices of Austin Vans

Following the reduction recently announced in Austin cars, the new prices of the vans and ambulances are as follows:-
7hp commercial chassis was £109 now £102 van £140 now £133
12hp commercial chassis was £195 now £185 van £285 and now f275
Travellers brougham £305 now £300
20hp commercial chassis £325 now £295
Van £436 now £410

Along with the price changes, various other modification have been carried out. In place of gaiters for the springs thin soft metal plates have been introduced between the leaves of the springs. These modify the friction and, it is stated, render lubrication unnecessary, which is a distinct advantage. The petrol tank filler has been so placed that replenishment can be made without the driver having to leave his seat. The.petrol gauge is now mounted on the instrument board, where the driver can see it at any time without disturbance. The Austin Motor Company are exhibiting at the Paris Salon and are showing four models, all of the six-cylinder type-namely, two Twenties and two Sixteens.

4 October 1928

Paris Motor Show
The French “Austin Seven”

Great interest was aroused at the Paris Motor Show with the first showing of the new Rosengart light car of 7hp, which is to be manufactured in quantities. The cheapest model which is a two-seater is priced at 14,900 francs about £120. The chassis is simply that of the famous Austin Seven. of which the Rosengart Company have acquired the manufacturing rights in France. It is identical with the Austin design at practically every level. French coachwork, very wide and roomy and highly coloured, is fitted, together with wheel discs and a luggage locker, and it makes an attractive little vehicle, although the overall appearance was spoiled by the square radiator. If the performance of the Rosengart is equal to that of the prototype it should be certain of success.

13 Nov 1928

Sir H Austin On The Car Of The Future

Lord Riddell, speaking at the “Motoring Night” dinner of the London Press Club on Saturday night, referring to the early life of Sir Herbert Austin, said that he served his apprenticeship with an engineering firm in Melbourne, but he came to England to control a sheep-shearing company. Later, he decided to go in for the motor industry. Lord Riddell said he had been told by Sir Herbert Austin and Mr. S. F. Edge that the motor-car was the only thing that was cheaper to buy to-day than before the War.

Sir Herbert Austin, in reply, appealed for greater cooperation on the part of the Press in connexion with the sale of British cars. In this country there was one car to every 23 persons. In America they were already advertising to get people to appreciate the necessity for two cars per person or at least three or four per family. The car of the future would be a very much smaller car, a very much lighter car, and a very much cheaper car. Mr Edge, who also replied, in dealing with the motor car industry generally, said that he was convinced that the car of the future, must become much larger. Lord Riddell presented to Mr W E Perks of the parliamentary staff of the Central News the Championship Cup which he won at the Press Club rifle meeting at Dorking last July.

03 April 1929

Strike at Longbridge

The management of the Austin Motor Company, Birmingham have abandoned their passive attitude towards the strikers.This afternoon the men were given notice that those who did not present themselves for work to-morrow would be deemed to have discharged themselves from the company's employ.

The policy of the strikers fluctuated during the day. When the 'factory opened this morning after the holiday break a large proportion of the workers, after clocking in, adjourned to the adjacent flying field. Here a meeting was held, at which it was decided to continue the strike. Later in the day the workers met again, and agreed that an attempt should be made to get in touch with the management. This effort was unsuccessful. It was reported that the management declined to receive the workers' delegation, a message being sent to them that the board of the company had definitely, decided that no discussions or interviews could take place until the men resumed work. The message, which was signed by Mr.C R F Engelbach, the works director added:- "I shall be glad to receive a deputation from all concerned as soon as work is started." There was some strong speaking by Mr. Bowen, the chairman of the strike committee, when this communication was received. If they went back, he said, they would be returning like beaten dogs ready to accept the crumbs that were thrown out to them. The strikers thereupon decided to continue the strike, but to abandon the stay-in method. They will, not go into the works to-morrow, and pickets were appointed. A meeting of the strikers was arranged for 8 o'clock tomorrow morning.

The notice posted by the management read as follows, "As there has not been the necessary general resumption of work to-day the board of the company has decided that, commencing with tomorrow (Thursday) morning, April 4, and until further notice, only those members of the staff and workpeople will be permitted to enter the works who have been supplied with a card by their superintendent or foreman, or who have received one by post. Men willing to work can obtain a card from their foreman by application to the new Labour Office, NorthWorks Hostel, although, owing to the dislocation caused by the stoppage, some time may elapse before every one desirous of working can be employed. All others will be considered to have discharged themselves from the company's employ and can only be reengaged after a formal application By order of the Company.

05 April 1929

End of Austin Works Strike

The unofficial strike of employees of the Austin motor works collapsed to-day in the face of the firm's threat to consider those who failed to report for work to-day as having discharged them-selves. The remnant of strikers left to negotiate with the firm after the morning shift had gone on duty secured a promise of negotiations to determine the interpretation of the new terms of employment against which they struck, but no possibility of varying those terms was included in the agreement. Representatives of the strikers, both trade union and non-trade union, will meet the management to-morrow, but the scheme of work and payment introduced on February 20 will continue in operation, and the discussions will concern, only matters of detail and not of principle.

Yesterday's ultimatum by the firm virtually marked the end of the strike. Last night the whole night shift was at work. This morning nearly 6,000 workers offered themselves for duty, and the sight of queues waiting outside the labour office for their work tickets so weakened the moral of the others that, according to the strike leader, "many who at the strike meetings had cheered most vociferously were crawling back to work."

There still remained about 1,500 men and women who stood by the strike committee, and these promptly held a meeting in the field which, thanks to the dry weather has been their headquarters and place of assembly. They had intended to carry out intensive picketing this morning to keep the great body of strikers solid, but police were at the gates in force to prevent molestation and the drift back to work was too big to be stemmed by a few peaceful pickets.

The meeting of strikers was short and, if a Bale bitter, quite unanimous. The discredited strike committee, no longer willing to lead, appointed a deputation from the ranks to see. the works manager. Re agreed to discuss the application of the new scheme but not the scheme itself, and to assure the strikers against victimization provided they resumed work. By II o'clock this morning the last of the strikers, led by the chairman of the strike committee, had gone into the works and resumed work, and though the dislocation is such that the works cannot get back into their stride immediately it will not be long before normal production is resumed.
Five days' production has been lost and that, I am in-formed by Mr. Engelbach, the works manager, represents about 1,000 cars.

The strike, though of comparatively short duration, has been a surprising example of how a large number of unorganized people can sometimes be influenced by a persuasive speaker. The majority of these people were members of no trade union. They were therefore in the industrial sense unorganized and would probably not have thought of striking but for the influence of a fellow worker imported from another district. The strike leader was an ex-miner from South Wales. He had been employed at the Long-bridge works for less than six months, yet I find in the neighbourhood of the works that he is regarded as being responsible for the strike, moral influence naturally needed a material backing unless the strike had met with immediate success, and the absence of funds doomed it to failure when the employers stood firm.

The result is no less a victory for the trade unions which have sought to organize the workers than for the firm, and the trade unions are making what capital they can out of the failure of 6,000 workers to get even a hearing until they had confessed themselves beaten.

The following statement setting forth the situation and the terms under which the strikers resumed was issued here to-day by the Engineering and Allied Employers' Association:-

"Owing to the fact that another stay-in strike started yesterday, on reopening after the holidays the management were forced into the position of saying that only men should be admitted to-day who would be willing to work. Actually 5,000 men applied for permits to enter, and this number started work this morning. Large numbers of others during the morning were also offering their services."

"A meeting was held by those still remaining out, and a deputation was appointed to meet the management. As a result the following memorandum was signed : We hereby guarantee on behalf of all men on strike that we and they will return to work and continue to work on the understanding that there is no victimization on either side, and that a properly appointed deputation from all sections concerned will meet the management together with the trade union officials to-morrow morn-ing to discuss procedure, and to continue negotiations until all outstanding questions are satisfactorily settled.' At II a.m. all men had returned to work, and conditions were approaching normal.

'The strike, which began on March 25, has been quiet and orderly, both while the workers stayed in but remained idle, and since they have been outside."

24 May 1929

Motor Trade & Duties
Sir Herbert Austin replies to Labour Leaders

Sir Herbert Austin replied yesterday to the speeches made by Mr MacDonald and Mr Snowden on Wednesday with reference to the letter in which he pointed out the possibility of the Motor Works having to close down if a Socialist Government repealed the McKenna duties. Mr MacDonald described the letter as a “threatening and blackmailing” one and Mr Snowden reminded Sir Herbert Austin that the Emergency Powers Act gave “drastic powers to a Government to deal with anybody who deliberate conspired to interfere with trade.”

In a statement to the Press association, Sir Herbert Austin said : “I am not in any way disappointed; in fact, I am very much interested to see in the newspapers that both Mr MacDonald and Mr Snowden are assisting me in bringing to notice of the electors in the country the dangers which will accrue if the McKenna duties and safeguarding measures now in existence are repealed. I consider it my duty, as the head of a big industrial company, to draw the attention of the electors, especially my own workers, to this matter at the present moment, because it would be no use to warn the electors when the damage had been done after the General Election. Then they would wish that they had voted differently.

“I am quite willing to leave to the judgment of the electors, especially those who know me, as to whether the letter I wrote is a blackmailing letter. It was certainly not written with that intention. Every expression I used in the letter was the result of very careful consideration, because I knew it would be attached by those who are anxious to prevent the Conservative Party from taking up the reins of Government again and completing the task which they have so ably begun and carried through in the past four and half years. It most seem rather strange to the electors to read such expressions as those by Mr MacDonald in his speech, particularly the statement that he will not yield to any capitalist intimidation. Happily, we are not living in a country where efforts of that kind would be of any avail at election time.

I am amused to note that the Conservative Party, according to Mr Snowdon, will not have me as a member any longer owing to some statement I made as to the continued protection of the industry. I think the best answer I can give is that I have been pressed to accept re-nomination on many occasions. I have had to refuse because I consider my time better spent in the general interests of the country in looking after my own big business than as acting as a member of Parliament.

June 1929

Sir Herbert Austin and the Motor Trade

Sir Herbert Austin, the motor manufacturer, addressing the Manchester Luncheon Club on Motors: Their Past, Present, and Future, made a reference to the political situation. he said:- We are hoping and believing that things are going to be allowed to go on as they are. We do not want any drastic changes in this country at the present time. We want to be allowed to carry on in our own way. We have built up quite a big organization in this country, based on the conditions which have existed over a period of years, and if there is going to be change I hope it is going to be slow in order to give us the time to make such changes as will meet the change in the political situation. We hope that all industries in the next 25 years will show a gradual improvement back to the position we occupied before the War. I believe that the world has need of us. Our desire to make good is approved by the nations of the world, and without our help and our co-operation and our brains and our hands, the world would be considerably poorer than it is at the present time.

22 October 1929

Sir Herbert Austin on the McKenna Duties

Sir Herbert Austin, speaking at the dinner of the Austin Motor Company, at the Connaught Rooms last night, said the coming year could not be otherwise than abnormally difficult. Let them take, for instance, the possible refusal of the Government to retain the McKenna Duties. We are all doing our best to prevent such a catastrophe from arising, he said, and, while it might be very consoling for shareholders to say that to say that such a pierce of folly could not possibly arise, we are doing everything we can be prepared for the worst. Designs for the sake of change should be discouraged, Sir Herbert Austin added. They did not want to get the motor industry into the somewhat unhappy state of women's fashions. Agents agreed with him that a motor industry to make a biennial exhibition quite satisfactory.

22 July 1929

Austin Seven Car in the USA

Sir Herbert Austin, chairman of the Austin Motor Company, Ltd. announces that an American company has been formed to manufacture the Austin Seven in the United States. This follows on the successful manufacture under licence of the same model car in Germany and France.

Careful survey of the American market, says Sir Herbert Austin, has convinced him that the Austin seven will prove a revelation to the United states, where it will meet with the largest and most discriminating motoring public in the world. the car holds practically the whole of the records for the 750cc class, and has to its credit the hour record of 88.66mph, and for 100 miles at 83.61mph, both of which were made at Brooklands. It holds a record of 56.4 miles on a gallon of fuel.

The car, which will be manufactured in Butler, Pennsylvania, in a works which the American company has contracted to purchase from the Standard Steel Car Company will be identical with the British product, except for the position of the steering wheel and certain other minor alterations necessary to conform with American practice. The financing of the American enterprise has been undertaken by a banking group headed by Bulkey Vallance and Co. New York.

American Austin Car Company INC,

The Company was incorporated on the 28th February 1929 and has bee formed for the purpose of acquiring from the Austin Motor Company Limited Birmingham England, an exclusive Licence to manufacture and sell 7hp austin Motor Cars in the United States, Mexico, Cuba all of North America and all of the possessions subject only to a right reserved to the Austin Motor Company Limited to sell the English manufactured product in Canada.

The said Licence, which is dated 18th May 1929 is for the duration of ten years(subject to termination as therein provided) with the right for the American Company, subject to the terms of the Licence, to require prolongation for a further period of ten years and reserves to the English Company a royalty on all cars produced varying from 2% to 1% on the net selling price as therein defined and is terminable by the English Company if the American Company fails to produce the minimum number of cars therein provided or pay the Licence fee payable on such minimum number.

The sum of £2,000 is payable on the licence taking effect which sum includes the royalty on the first 1,500 cars. In according with a provision of the Licence the American Company granted to the English Company and Sir Herbert Austin jointly by an Agreement dated 18th May 1929 an option exercisable on or before 15th September 1932 of buying a further 50,000 Shares of the Company at the price of $9 per share, such Shares not to be sold for one year from the date of issue.

The Company has allotted to Harry H Stockfield, New York, 25,000 Shares of the Company non-assessable and fully paid and has paid to him in cash $3,200 on or before the 15th September 1931 over a further 25, 000 Shares of the Company at the price of $10.50 per share in consideration of services rendered by the said Harry H Stock in procuring the grant to the Company of the Licence from the English Company above mentioned.

The Company has entered into a Contract with Standard Steel Car Company, a Pennsylvania Corporation, dated 4th June 1929 for the purchase of a factory, the price payable being $250,000 in cash.

24 July 1929 New York

American, Austin Motor Company

Between 250 and 300 thousand shares in the American Austin Motor Company will be offered next week at about $12 per share. The new company, which will have a capital of one million shares of no par value, will acquire the American rights of the Austin Motor Co. Ltd. England. About 63% of the stock will be sold here and the balance in England. Sir Herbert Austin will be a director of the American company.

August 1929

British Cars Abroad
Post-War Progress
Sir Herbert Austin's Hopes

Sir Herbert Austin, chairman of theAustin Motor Company, made a statement to The Times yesterday on the difficulties and prospects of British motor car manufacturers in the export markets.

We have continuously fostered the export markets (he said) since the commencement of our, company's operations in 1950, and now that our production is getting into big figures,we have found that this pioneer work in foreign markets is helping us quite a lot. Since the Armistice our efforts in this direction have considerably increased, and to-day our turn-over in those foreign markets amounts to 17% of our total output. One of the favourable points in connexion with the export trade is the fact that the busy season in the Southern Hemisphere comes at a period when our home "markets are usually slack, and therefore, trade in centres like South Africa, Australia and New Zealand help to keep the factory more fully employed during the months of August, September, October, November, and December.

In those countries where the British manufacturer has no preference, such as India, the Federated Malay States and South Africa, competition with American and Continental cars is extremely keen. In Australia and NewZealand, where we have a small preferences, conditions are more favourable, and we should view with considerable alarm the removal of any reduction of these preference in our Dominions. One of the difficulties we have to contend against, in the Dominions is the fact that a large number of American cars are exported via Canada as British Empire productions, and receive a portion at any rate, of the preferential tariff. They also come into this country on a reduced import duty. If these cars were in reality manufactured in Canada we should have no reason to complain, but most of them are only partially made there, the bulk of the work and expense of manufacture being carried out in the United States. As a matter of fact, the present understanding only calls for 25 per cent of the cost to be Canadian, and the other 75 per cent may be all American.

Considerable efforts have been made by manufacturers in this country to have the percentage raised to at least 50, although we think it should be 75. Some hopes have been held out that the matter will receive favourable consideration, but meanwhile the British manufacturer is working at a disadvantage in this respect.

Knowing the value of an export trade in a business such as that of motor car manufacture, which is very largely of a seasonal character, we feel sure the industry in this country would be considerably benefited if more attention was paid by other manufacturers to, export markets. We have no special plans for the future in the export directions, except that the progress in the percentage of export trade that we have made since the Armistice will continue.

October 1929

Sir Herbert Austin on the McKenna Duties

Sir Herbert Austin, speaking at the dinner of the Austin Motor Company, at the Connaught Rooms last night, said the the coming year could not be otherwise than abnormally difficult. Let them take, for instance, the possible refusal of the Government to retain the McKenna Duties. We are all doing our best to prevent such a catastrophe from arising, he said, and, while it might be very consoling for shareholders to say that to say that such a pierce of folly could not possibly arise, we are doing everything we can be prepared for the worst. Designs for the sake of change should be discouraged, Sir Herbert Austin added. They did not want to get the motor industry into the somewhat unhappy state of women's fashions. Agents agreed with him that a motor industry to make a biennial exhibition quite satisfactory.

24 November 1929

Sir Herbert Austin's Objections To The Editor Of The Times

Sir,—I have read with great interest the very able letter which appeared in your columns on October 27 from my friend Sir Harold Bowden, dealing with the industrial situation and advocating, among other palliatives, a shorter work-ing week as a means of improving the unemployment problem. This suggestion, which has often been put forward, is based upon two fallacies, the first being that the industrial world has
over produced and the second that machines are responsible for the world's unemployment problem. To suggest that there is over-production in a world where hundreds of millions of people are still begging for ordinary necessities, is to me an acknowledgment of our inability to keep pace with a civilization of our own making. The machine, rather than decreasing employment; has been the means of enormously increasing it, and since the beginning of the machine age—about 1750—industry in Great Britain has produced a living for seven times as many people. Personally I consider it a dangerous policy, absolutely against national interests, to keep saying there is over-production and that a shorter number of hours should be worked. Of course, we can work fewer hours, but by the same line of argument, why work at all ? Let us establish our lives on a less expensive or less modern basis, just producing sufficient wealth to keep us alive and provide us with the bare necessities. But unfortunately if we attempted to get back to the Stone Age conditions, our difficulties and our problems during the transition would be far greater than those we are experiencing to-day or any we are likely to encounter if we continue on our march towards a higher standard of living. All this cry of " over-production " unfortunately tends to create in the minds of those workers in employment an impression that the less work they do the better matters will become for their less fortunate fellows. No more destructive doctrine could be devised. If only it were possible to make our trade unions realize that upon the speed and efficiency at which the men in employment work depends the survival of our whole industrial structure, I am sure a great deal of unemployment in this country would disappear.

Yours faithfully, H. AUSTIN. Longbridge Works, Northfield, Birmingham, Nov. 24

08 March 1930

Austin Motor Company
Progress In The Last Seven Years

The report of the Austin Motor Company for 1929 states that the gross trading profit was £1,297,445. After deducting charges amounting to £430,480 and including £59,664 brought forward, there remains a credit balance of £926,629.

The company has paid to its employees £12,000,000 in wages during the seven years. The number employed at the factory near Birmingham in 1914 was 2,290, in 1922 3,050, and in 1930, 12,023. It is estimated that the companies suppliers have paid approximately the same amount in wages, and employed at least another 12,000 work people for the manufacture of component parts and accessories for Austin car.

Accompanying the report is a statement which the directors describe as “showing a remarkable achievement under the McKenna duties.” This statement shows that during, the seven years from January, 1923, to December 31, 1929, the gross trading profit averaged £767,295 per annum, and the profit before charging Debenture interest, sinking fund, and income-tax, averaged £489,106 per annum. In the same period the amount spent on maintenance of buildings, plant, and tools, also provision for depreciation, was £1,956,770.

05 June 1930

New Austin Cars

There is a now 16 h.p. 6-cylinder Austin with a six-window fabric saloon body the roof of which folds right back and gives the passengers a view as from an open car.

Each of the front seats is adjustable and all six windows are worked mechanically. The equipment includes leather furniture, hide or moquette upholstery, dip. and switch headlamps, roof', ventilator, an improved lug gage carrier, shock absorbers, radiator cowl, a radiator motometer, chromium plating, petrol gauge, wire wheels. The chassis costs £240, and the folding-head saloon £400. The wheel-base and track are 9ft. 4in. and 4ft. 8in., the six cylinder have a capacity, of 2,249 cc. and the brake horse-power at 2,400 rpm. is. stated to be 36. 'The valves are at the side, the-crankshaft runs in eight bearings, there is coil and battery ignition, and water and oil circulation are forced. A single-plate clutch passes the power to a four-speed centrally controlled gearbox, and from there to a three-quarter floating axle with helical bevel gear and a ratio of 5.12 to 1. There are five brakes, with simple adjustment, the steering has a roller worm wheel, and the half-elliptical chassis spring have Silentbloc shackles, zinc-lined leaves, and shock-absorbers. On the 12 hp. 4-cylinder chassis is a Watford four-window fabric saloon; this costs complete as a five-seater £275, the chassis being £187 10s. Here the engine capacity is 1,861 cc., the stated brake horse-power at 2,000 rpm. is 27, the crankshaft runs in five bearings, the back axle ratio is 5.12 also, ignition is by magneto, the wheelbase and track are on the Sixteen. A sports Seven is also made by the Austin Motor Company.

04 Sept 1930

New changes for the 1931 range of Austin Cars

The four Austin chassis the 7hp 12hp 16hp and 20hp are being continued with improvements, but no very radical alterations. The coachwork is more up to date and in many cases prices, are lowered.

It is stated that the sales of Austin products for the months of June, July, and August.1913, show an increase of 29.7 per cent. over the similar period of last year and, as has nearly always been the case since the War with the British motor manufacturer, the benefit of larger output and sales has been proportionately passed on to the public. The fabric and coach built Seven saloons formerly cost £140 each. and the new price for the improved models is £130. The tourer 2-seater formerly sold at £130, and these are each £17 10s. less. The crankshaft of the Seven is stiffer, the change speed lever is longer and more convenient, the petrol tank carries five gallons and has a reserve supply, the button oil indicator has been superseded by a dashboard dial gauge, the windscreen has a locking device, and probably the greatest improvement the four brakes are now operated together by hand or foot. The appearance of the cars has been considerably improved. The radiator is higher and the shell narrower, the bonnet has been raised and length added by shortening the scuttle. The new windscreen is slightly canted, and an impression of length is given by a belt moulding running from radiator to rear panel. This moulding is painted to harmonize with any given colour scheme. The new Seven is made to seat four persons comfortably, and has pneumatic upholstery. The doors are wide. The carrying capacity is 36st. The chassis construction is too well known to need emphasis here, though it may be stated that the engine, with its cylinder capacity of 747.5 cc., is said to develop 10.5-horse power at the moderate rate of 2,400 rpm. Sliding sun shine roofs can be had on the saloon models for £5 more.

Prices of the Twelve vary from £275, which is the new price for the Watford saloon, the new open road 5-seated tourer, and the Eton 2-seater, to £299 for the six-window coach- built saloon and the four and six-window fabric saloons. All these last three types have been reduced in price. The chassis details of the Sixteen remain as before except for the addition of an air cleaner. This 6-cylinder engine is of 2.1/4, litres capacity and is stated to develop 36 brake horse power at 2,400 rpm. The crankshaft runs in eight bearings, and has a vibration damper in front. Reviews of all four Austin chassis appear in the current edition of " Cars of To-day," and therefore I do not propose to detail the construction here. The Sixteen has a wheelbase of 9ft. 4in. and a track of 4ft. 8in. The three types of saloon now cost £335 each, the coach-built and six--window fabric saloons thus being reduced £40 each, while the four-window fabric saloon were formerly priced at
£ could be 365. The two open cars remain the same at £310. All saloon models of the Twenty, Sixteen, and Twelve can be had with a sliding sunshine roof for £10 extra. The silentbloc shackles and the zinc interleaves for the springs, proving, popular in the past, have been retained on all models. Last, the 20 h.p. Marlborough landaulette and Carlton saloon have each been reduced from £560 to £525, while the Ranelagh, which is now undoubtedly a handsome car sells at £575 instead of £630. The petrol tank on the Twenty is now at the back, and an air cleaner has been fitted to the engine. As with the other type of coachwork, there is improvement here. The shortening of the scuttle has allowed the bonnet to be lengthened, there are better roof lines, the windscreen is sloped, and the waist-line moulding extends along the scuttle and bonnet. This Ranelagh limousine has a sun visor, and the radiator cowl is higher and narrower. The car is elaborately fitted inside and there is a hinged central arm rest. The wheelbase is 11ft 4ins. There will also be a new saloon on the Twenty chassis shown at Olympia, but with a wheelbase 10ft 10ins. The 6-cylinder engine, of 3,400 cc. capacity, is stated to develop 49-horse power at only 2,000 rpm. In contradiction of the Pessimistic rumours of the state of the British motor, industry, the Austin Motor Company stated that the Longbridge factory is gearing up to produce more cars in 1931.

02 October 1930

Austin Motor Prosperity

Accounts are issued by the Austin Motor Company covering the seven months ended July 31. They show a great trading profits of £858,137, being at the rate of £1,471,092 per annum, as compared with £1,297,446 for the year 1929.Provision for maintenance, depreciation, and directors' fees requires £245,045, the Debenture service amounts to £78,750, and a sum of £150,000 is to be set aside for on account of income-tax. Thus the net profit for the period is £384,342, or at the rate of £ 658,872 per annum, as compared with £359,788 for the preceding full year. After allowing fore the fixed dividends for the period year 1929.

In their present report the directors state that the new prices operating from September 1, coupled with the new models, have been favourably receive, and the sales turnover since July 31, 1930, to the present date shows a distinct improvement over the same period of last year. Owing to the fact that the manufacture of the 7 hp. car by the American Austin Car Company was only in its initial stages, no licence fees were received during the period under review.

08 Oct 1930

Automobile Design
Sir H. Austin On Future Changes

Sir Herbert Austin delivered his presidential address to the institution of Automobile Engineers at the Royal Society of Arts last night. He said that we had not reached perfection in automobile design any more than in other fields of industry. The present position was largely the result of standardization, made necessary by or consequent on, mass production to obtain a low manufacturing cost. Various attempts had been made to break away from this standardization the past 15 years, and to leave the well defined limits of present day practice would require a lot of courage on the part of a large manufacturer.

The exigencies of manufacture had largely controlled progress in design, though the rapid improvement of roads and the incidence of our vehicle taxation had, among other causes, been instrumental in holding back progress in the design of vehicles suitable for Colonial use. How much this out-of-date method of calculating horse-power for taxation purposes had cost the British nation in lost export trade it would be impossible to estimate. Although energetic representations had been made to the Government, design were still obliged to keep the stroke-bore ratio disproportionate for economic and sweet-running results. The American manufacture. in particular, had benefited enormously by our persistent folly and was able to produce his vehicle at considerably less cost by shorter stroke and larger bore.

Sir Herbert Austin then spoke of taxicab design. “For many practical reasons,” he said, “the engine should be put at the rear for a taxicab operating in congested areas and this would give a sensible and convenient means of entry and exit and better riding qualities. I look for early development in this direction.”

The weight of road vehicle could be reduced with advantage. The road vehicle of the future would have many fewer parts, hundreds fewer. Yet even today manufactures bid for public favour by adding each year some further complication. It could be safely assumed for a year or two that the type of engine, drive, gearbox, steering and brakes would change only in detail. The six-cylinder engine, except for very small sizes, would be predominant, because it gave a sweetness of running not possible with a four-cylinder engine. The added complications and expense of the eight-cylinder more than offset any extra refinement that it possessed for the cheaper models.

12 January 1931

British Cars Abroad

To the Editor

Sir, Replying to the letter from "Canadian" in your issue of the 9th, I am naturally not prepared to enter into a discussion in the Press of the comparative values of the English, American, German, or French productions of our 7hp car, but there is one outstanding reason why American cars generally are produced and sold at a lower price than the british, and that is that the American production and price are based on the enormous home market, which the American manufacturer has reserved entirely to him by substantial import duties. For instance, the price of the American Bantam car was, I believe, based on the orders received before production commenced of nearly 200,000 which is a bigger figure than all types of cars sold in this country in a year. It is also important to note that the American Bantam car is only a two-seater, a type which is sold in very small quantities in this country.

I am yours faithfully,

For and on behalf of the Austin Motor Company, Ltd.
H Austin, Director Longbridge works, Birmingham


Sir Herbert Austin Designs the seats for Shakespeare Memorial Theatre.

The first theatre was opened in April 1879, but was destroyed by fire on 6th March 1926. It was decided that it should be rebuilt, and a lady architect, Elisabeth Scott was given the job.

How Sir Herbert became involved in designing the seats is unknown. But typical of the inventiveness and design skills of the man, the seats were unusual in that both the seat and arms were mechanically linked so that both tipped up, when the occupant stood up.

The main seat frame was made from cast iron, from which was supported the seat and arm rest. By means of a simple counter-weight both the seat and the armrest would fold against the back, this gave a very wide and free gangway. Compared to the normal construction of seats at the time, these seats contained no springs or hairs. Instead the mohair upholstery was stretched over a moulded block of cellular air cushion rubber, a new form of seating material made direct from rubber latex, the natural milk of the rubber tree. The mouldings were specially made for the job, and differing from ordinary sponge rubber, in that being completely aerated it does not induce perspiration.

A total of 239 seats were in fitted in the stalls in rows 2ft 10ins apart. Of the total, 24 were 21ins wide and the rest 22ins wide. In the Dress Circle the rows were 3ft apart with 232 at 20ins wide and a further 262 at 22ins making a total of 494. If a Royal visits was planned, then fourteen seats at the rear of the Dress Circle would be removed to give more room.

In the Gallery there was seating for 267 on benches in rows 3ft apart but still upholstered using the cellular rubber, this gave a grand total number of 1,000 seats in the theatre.

In 1961 the theatre was renamed "
The Royal Shakespeare Memorial Theatre"

20 March 1931

Progress Of Motor Industry
Sir H. Austin On Effect Of McKenna Duties

The progress of the British industry was the subject of an address by Sir Herbert Austin at a luncheon given by the American Chamber of Commerce in London at the Hotel Victoria, Northumberland avenue yesterday. Mr. Francis E. Powell presided.

Sir Herbert Austin said serious motor manufacturing in this country began in 1900, but from then till 1914 progress was not very rapid. Much had to be learned and prejudice removed. The insular and self-sufficient views of Englishmen had a retarding effect, a condition which also applied to the United States. They all made too many models and too many changes and encouraged individual tastes embodied on their cars. Costs were high and the manufacturing facilities were of what might be styled the hand-made variety. The War changed all that and gave them a real appreciation of what could be accomplished by means of mass production.

The Progress since 1921 had been constant, if at times a bit patchy, but unquestionably the present comparatively satisfactory position of the British motor industry was largely due to the security given by the McKenna duties, which had remained in force since the Coalition Government, except in 1924-25. when for a few months the Socialist Government removed them as a sop for the support of Liberal Party. There was still some danger they might try to do it again.

As showing what had been accomplished during the last nine year, he pointed out that the total manufacture of passenger cars and commercial vehicles had steadily increased from 73,000 in 1922 to 238,805 in 1929. In 1930 there was a drop of about 2,300, the total being 236,528. The commercial vehicles were roughly about 25 per cent of the totals. The export figures, about 15 to 20 per cent of the total manufactures, showed an increase of from 3,041 in 1922 to 48,821 in 1929. Last year the figure dropped to 29,753. These figures would look a little tame to some of their American competitors, but while the Americans had to some extent their good time, the British manufacturers believed that theirs was still to come. (Cheers.)

British Taxation

While the British manufacturers were trying to keep their end up, they recognized that the endeavouring to support, called for greater efforts, and the rapid strides made by American manufacturers both in design and in reduction of price made their position in some export markets one of serious concern. They were not downhearted, and they did not expect to evade entirely the effects of the present world setback, but they would be heartily, glad when some of the problems were solved and more normal conditions existed. In their wholehearted adoption of the small car they had shown the world that they were not all snobs and that they could adapt themselves to varying circumstances.

Was the present extraordinarily keen competition between the United States and Britain altogether necessary or in their best interests individually or collectively ? The two nations had very much the same ideals, and would be able, if linked together, to control the well being and the peaceful occupation of the world. Why did they not collaborate more ? They had each at times done a little in this direction and usually with some success, but in the grasping for all the plum which took place so often they must be losing quite a proportion of what they might each retain, and still feed the foreign markets with what they required at satisfactory prices. Why did not the United States and Great Britain do what would place them in an enviable and unassailable position put forward a scheme for the cancellation of War debts on the distinct understanding that all military and naval undertakings or preparations should be cut down to a minimum for the next 25 years or longer ?

10 Aug 1931

New Motor Records At Brooklands
An Austin Success

A supercharged Austin Seven car driven by Mr. Leon Cushman on Brooklands track on Saturday created new international records in Class H (for cars of750 c.c. and under). The flying kilometre was covered at a speed of 102.28 miles an hour and the flying at 100.67miles an hour. The standing start kilometre was covered at a speed of 65.01miles an hour and the standing start mile at 74.12 miles an hour.

The conditions were bad for an attempt on records in a small car. There was heavy rain until about 8.15 am (the time for the attempt had been arranged as 8 am), and the wind from the south-west, became strong. The official timekeeper did not arrive until 10am, and one good opportunity, had passed.In the first attempts, which were made about10.30 am., the flying kilometre was covered at a speed of over 99 miles an hour, and the old record (held, by G E T Eyston, who drove an MG. Midget over the distance at a mean speed of 97.09 miles an hour) was beaten easily. The wind was high enough to give Mr. Cushman some anxious moments when he left the shelter of the members banking, and there was a sufficiency of rain to complete the driver’s misery. He drove with very great skill and maintained au excellent line on the banking throughout the attempts. He is as much to be congratulated on the line performance as is the designer of the car.

The desire to take the record beyond the100-mile-an-hour mark led to further attempts later in the morning, and on this occasion the necessary drives in reverse directions were made in an even higher wind than were the earlier attempts. They were successful, and the Austin Seven once more holds the essential international records in Class II and is the first car of 745 c.c. to exceed 100 miles an hour. Good fortune has returned to the small Austin and it has a well deserved triumph which is as much due to good organization as to the highly skilled driving of Mr Cushman. Mr Cushman gave one of finest performances ever seen in record breaking by succeeding in his efforts on a day when it was not pleasant even to drive an ordinary touring car on a safe road.

12 Jun 1931

British Cars Abroad

To The Editor Of the Times

Sir,-Replying to the letter from “Canadian” in your issue of the 9th, I am naturally not prepared to enter into a discussion in the Press of the comparative values of the English, American, German, and French productions of our 7 h.p. car, but there is one outstanding reason why American cars generally are produced and sold at a lower price than the British, and that is that the American production and price are based on the enormous home market, which the American manufacturer has reserved entirely to him by substantial import duties. For instance the price of the American Bantam car was, I believe, based on the orders received before production commenced of nearly 200,000, which is a bigger figure that all types of cars sold in this country in a year It is also important to note that the American Bantam car is only a two-seat a type which is sold in very small quantities in this country.

I am yours faithfully,
For and on behalf of the Austin Motor Company Limited.
H Austin, Director
Longbridge Works, Birmingham.

2 August 1932

Austin opens new Training School

The modern motor salesman has to be a level-headed, practical man, keen, and above all well informed. Only with these attributes can he give reliable advice to a prospective car buyer. To provide a constant influx to the ranks of Austin salesmen hearing these qualifications is the purpose of a new Austin Sales School recently established at Longbridge. This school has been organised by the Institute of Motor Salesmanship Limited, in conjunction and provides a months extension course of intensive training following the normal three months course on motor salesmanship at the LMS headquarters in London.

At Longbridge young motor salesmen, under the direction of an instructor expert in Austin cars, supplement a general knowledge of their craft with a training in Austin salesmanship. They are given an insight into the constructional features of the cars, methods of manufacture, and the sales organization comprising the Austin Company and its dealers, as well as acquaintance with the history and tradition of the concern. The course includes practical tuition in demonstrating with various models, detail study of the whole range, visits to many parts of the factory, and lectures by Longbridge sales and advertising executives.

That the students may readily become familiar with the leading features of Austin design, display tables are set out in the main classroom on which numerous parts used in the current models are exhibited to emphasize salient features of design with which the Austin salesman should be conversant. Complete units such as gear-boxes, axles, engines, and even whole chassis and bodies are part of the standard equipment of the school, and a projector is employed to show on the screen diagrams or views illustrating various aspects of the instructions given at Longbridge, should help to raised the status of the motor salesman.

31 August 1932

Reducing Accidents

Sir,-In my private capacity as a motor manufacturer, and as a motorist of 40 years'; standing, having a clean record as to accidents, I view with very great interest the efforts now being made by the Government, through its Minister of Transport, to reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by users of the roads. In matters of this kind, involving the freedom of millions of people, one must be guided to a large, extent by what has already been accomplished by, and the experience of, such cities as Helsingfors and Paris, for instance. These show that the. elimination of the use of the motor horn has not only reduced the noise, but has also definitely and substantially reduced the accidents, in the case of Helsingfors by more than 50 per cent. during the last four years. In the case of Paris, the regulation was made in order to reduce noise, and in Heisingfors to reduce accidents.

Of course the suppression of the use of the horn will considerably reduce average speed, especially at first, but nevertheless your readers may be assured that there is no section of the community more desirous of reducing accidents on the road than the motor manufacturer. Anything that is humanly possible in this direction will receive our sympathetic support.

For years we have been working on the problem of building silent automobiles, and I assert, without any reservation, that the cars purchased in this country to-day are as silent, if kept in reasonably good repair, as it is possible to expect, and much less noisy than trains, trams, or horse-drawn traffic. I am personally of the opinion that the elimination of the use of, the horn, except in the case of real necessity, should result in a reduction of accidents on our roads.

I am yours faithfully,
Longbridge Works, Birmingham, Aug. 31 1932

26 November 1932

Sir Herbert Austin's Objections
To The Editor

Sir,-l have read with great interest the very able letter which appeared in your columns on October 27 from my friend Sir Harold Bowden, dealing with the industrial situation and advocating, among other palliatives, a shorter working week as a means of improving the unemployment problem.

This suggestion, which has often been put forward, is based upon two fallacies, the first being that the industrial world has over-produced and the second that machines are responsible for the world's unemployment problem.

To suggest that there is over-production in a world where hundreds of millions of people are still begging for ordinary necessities, is to me an acknowledgment of our inability to keep pace with a civilization of our own making. The machine, rather than decreasing employment, has been the means of enormously increasing it, and since the beginning of the machine age--about 1750-industry in Great Britain has produced a living for seven times as many people.

Personally I consider it a dangerous policy, absolutely against national interests, to keep saying there is over-production and that a shorter number of hours should be worked. Of course, we can work fewer hours, but by the same line of argument, why work at all ? Let us establish our lives on a less expensive or less modern basis, just producing sufficient wealth to keep us alive and provide us with the bare necessities. But unfortunately if we attempted to get back to the Stone Age conditions, our difficulties and our problems during the transition would be far greater than those we are experiencing to-day or any we are likely to encounter if we continue on our march towards a higher standard of living.

All this cry of " over-production " unfortunately tends to create in the minds of those workers in employment an impression that the less work they do the better matters will become for their less fortunate fellows. No more destructive doctrine could be devised. If only it were possible to make our trade unions realize that upon the speed and efficiency at which the men in employment work depends the survival of our whole industrial structure, I am sure a great deal of unemployment in this country would disappear.

Yours faithfully,
Longbridge Works, Northfield, Birmingham,

17 December 1932

Progress at Home and Abroad

The delivery figures of the Austin factory at Longbridge, Birmingham, for the past two months, are stated to amount to more than 10,000 cars or over 190,000 developed horse-power. Of these 10,000 cars, some 1,800 have been dispatched overseas, South Africa and New Zealand having taken the largest numbers. in many foreign markets British motor-cars have now taken the lead. The latest official figures from Ceylon for the quarter 'ended September 30 last show that Austins accounted for 44 per cent. of the total number of registrations. Two Austin cars were sold for every one of the next most popular makes. South Africa, Austin products hold the motor-car market for Great Britain, Austin figures showing that one in 4.3 of new cars registered in the Cape Province, were Austin models. The Austin Seven has played many roles, and been put to many uses. An America model, fitted with grooved wheels, is used as an overhead ferry across a river 50 yards wide. The Seven runs on two cables, being steadied by a third passing through a pulley attached to the roof. With the full complement of passengers, this tight-rope prodigy can cross the river 100 times on a gallon of petrol.

The largest press job yet to be undertaken at Longbridge has just been put into production. This is the forming of two Austin Seven rear-quarter panels by one stroke of the 500-ton press. The blank sheet for this pressing has an area of 34 square feet, and weighs over 501b. The dies used in themselves weigh almost 11 tons, but they enable 144 panels to be produced every hour.

07 Feb 1933

Trade Outlook in Birmingham
Sir H Austin on Motor Car Orders

Sir Herbert Austin presided at the annual meeting of the Greater Birmingham Employment Committee yesterday. He predicted that the present year would see an improvement over 1932 in many local industries and advocated greater freedom in spending on the part of the public.

Contrasting the unemployment position in Birmingham with that at Glasgow, he said that last December 19, the number of men women boys and girls unemployed in Birmingham was 50,370. This, if not entirely satisfactory compared favourably with Glasgow, where 31.7 per cent. of the insured population was out of the work, the total being 129,890. In Birmingham the percentage was 13.2. The number of people in receipt of poor relief was 22,888 in Birmingham and 106,308 in Glasgow.

The position of motor-car firms and some other manufacturers in the Birmingham district afforded hope and confidence for the immediate future. The Austin Company had received about 40 per cent. more orders during the last four months than in the corresponding period a year ago. The prevalent idea that it was unwise to spend because economy had been advocated by successive Governments would have to be changed. He commended the Lord Mayor of Birmingham’s “spend now” campaign.

17 April 1933

Austin Motor Pension Scheme

The directors of the Austin Motor Company announce a pension and insurance scheme embracing all the members of their staff. The scheme will be effected by insurance with the Legal and General Assurance Society. Members of scheme contribute in proportion to the amount of their salary, and the balance of the cost of pension benefits is met by the company, who, moreover, provide life assurance benefits entirely at their own expense. Full protection is assured for dependents of any member of the scheme who dies while in service, and an income for life is provided for members attaining the age of 65. The pension contributions paid by the member, together with 3 per cent. compound interest, can be returned at any time should he leave the company's service, or they would be returned to his representative in the event of death prior to pension age.

May 1933

Sir Alan Cobham's Flying Circus

The second visit of Sir Alan Cobham’s National Aviation Day Crusade to the flying ground at Longbridge, took place on Saturday and Sunday, May 6 and 7 1933 the event proving fully as popular as the first visit last year. Over ten thousand people paid for admission to the ground and throughout the afternoon and evening of each day a full programme of air trips and stunt flying was given. The auto-gyro and the large two engine air liner proved popular, and both were almost constantly in the air. The flying ground at Longbridge is enclosed within the circular track used for testing Austin cars which is a mile in circumference. The cost of the joy fights was a few shillings.

22 May 1933

Fast Tourer Based On The Twelve Six

The Austin Company is again entering the sports car market with a fast touring model evolved from the popular Twelve-Six chassis.

The new model, which is to sell at £268, has low lines. The front bucket seats are separately adjustable: the back seat has a centre and side arm rest: the upholstery is in leather throughout; and four doors give access to front and rear seats. The engine is basically the same six-cylinder unit used in the standard Twelve-Six models, but the induction and exhaust manifolding has been redesigned and a downdraught carburettor is incorporated. A high compression ratio of 7 to I is employed and the valve lift is increased by a special camshaft. The brake
horse-power developed is stated to be 40, and to enable full advantage to be taken of the engine output a close ratio gearbox is employed, the ratios being 18.26, 11.7, 7.58, and 5,5 to one.

Apart from this the gearbox embodies the usual features including twin-top gears, to be found on the standard car. To ensure a high degree of stability a special frame is used which combines low body mounting position with good rigidity, the deep side-members being dropped to the centre and three of the cross-members passing the beneath the propeller shaft, one having a generous and stiff "U" section. The passenger load is thus carried four inches lower than in the standard model. Other special features of interest include a large diameter propeller shaft, hydraulic shock absorbers at the front and frictional ones at the rear, and the accessible location for the batteries and tools under the bonnet. There is a hood with side curtains, while the tonneau cover can be used to make the car an open two-seater if extra if extra passengers are not to be carried. The windscreen will open fully. The wings are deep-domed, and the bonnet louvres are separately adjustable. A new radiator is fitted that improves engine cooling.

29 June 1933

The new Austin Sports Seven

The new "Sports Seven" recently announced by the Austin Company, is a car which shows a good example of low, level compactness. In fact, the seats are only 14in. above the ground when the normal complement of two persons is being carried. This low centre of gravity is obtained by a special front axle with a transverse semi-elliptic spring of reversed camber, and flat rear quarter-elliptic springs.

The engine is of similar capacity and general design, with detachable head and side valves, to the standard model, except that a downdraught carburettor, special manifolding, as well as special valve gear and a high compression cylinder head ensure a 23-b.h.p. output at 4,800 r.p.m. Naturally the four gear ratios have been modified to suit the engine performance, the top gear of 5.6 to one being slightly lower than standard, with the other ratios of 8.6, 13.7, and 19.6 to one somewhat higher. Other special features include a spring-arm steering wheel, single panel sports screen, and a wire-mesh radiator guard.

The battery is accessible under the long bonnet, and the shapely tail of the car houses the spare wheel, jack, and wheelbrace, leaving room to take luggage behind the seats. The two wide doors allow the seats to be easily reached, and there is a hood. Priced at £148 complete, this new sports car should certainly appeal to many motorists who want that combination so difficult to obtain - speed and economy.

The Austin Seven still continues to add to the number of successes scored by British cars in international events. In the Intonational Kesselberg Hill Climb in Bavaria, held on June 18, the Austin Seven, driven by R. Kohlrausch, secured first prize in the racing-car class up to 800 c.c., improving the old category record by four
seconds. In the same event W. Baumer, also driving an Austin Seven, won second prize. The course is a very difficult one owing to many comers, and the event is looked upon as the most important South German hill climb.

18 July 1933

Possible rise in car prices, and the 20,000th Austin Ten produced.

It is possible that motor-car prices may rise in the near future, and Sir Herbert. Austin recently stated that already certain essential materials used in the manufacture of Austin cars have increased in price by from 5 per cent. to 15 per cent, and knowing to a penny what each car costs the firm to make, they, in common with other manufacturers, may be faced with the alternatives of reducing the quality of their products or raising the prices.

No firm like the Austin Company has really any alternative for the sound British manufacturer has quality of production too near his heart to sacrifice his standard to any appreciable extent for a cut price. There is therefore definitely a possibility of the company's models costing more in the near future, and Sir Herbert Austin says that it is no exaggeration to say that Austin cars have always been real value, though not necessarily the cheapest of their kind, and public demand has fully endorsed the view that mere cheapness is not enough. After all. it is the service a commodity gives that counts in the end. particularly with cars. The motor-buying public has benefited from a remarkable series of price reductions during the past decide, and, for instance, Austin cars to-day, though greatly superior in nearly every respect, cost only half the price asked for them 10 years ago.

The popularity of the 10 horse-power car is evident to all who uses the roads, and an example is the fact that the twenty-thousands Austin Ten Four recently left the factory at Longbridge just 15 months since this model was first introduced to the public. The Austin concern also reports a total sales record for last June with a 22 per cent. increase over June, 1932, in spite of the fact that this year the Whitsuntide holiday was included in the period in question.

25 September 1933

The 40-Hour Week
SIR H AUSTIN On Added Production Costs

A debate between a trade union leader and an industrial magnate on the question of the 40-hour week took place at Ballick College to-day at the afternoon session of the Rowntree Conference of Works Managers, Directors, and Foremen. Mr. W. Sherwood, of the National Union of General and Municipal Workers, advanced reasons in favour of the establishment of a shorter week, and was opposed by Sir Herbert Austin.

Mr. Sherwood said that while a 40-hour week without reduction of pay would not solve the unemployment question, something was needed to relieve the pressure during the transition stage from one society to another. They were not putting, this proposal forward merely out of sentiment, but because it was a hard economic fact that unless we got down to a lesser working week we were not going to re-employ our men or get back to normal. Since the War, largely as a result of new mechanical and scientific processes, the output per worker had been greatly increased. The fact that fewer workers could produce the same quantities of goods was one of the main causes of unemployment. After giving the figures showing increased productive capacity had greater unemployment in the building, mining, and steel industries, the speaker referred to the engineering industry. It was a curious fact, he said, that in this industry the total number of employees was practically the same as in 1924, but productive capacity had risen 26.7 per cent.

Export Markets

In his reply Sir Herbert Austin said that the proposal was just another aspect of organized short time, a system which had been tried for a number of years in the cotton industry and had consistently failed. Under existing international conditions the difficulties that would follow from the introduction of a shorter week would leave the industry of this country in a decidedly worse state than it was at present. How could it be supposed that we could retain our vital export markets in view of the rising production costs which must inevitably follow ? How should we retain our own markets without a high tariff wall ? The 40-hour week would mean the erection of extra buildings and machinery which would add to production costs. There could be no doubt that the shorter week would increase the incentive to replace labour by machinery. These things should be done internationally, and they knew what chance there was of that. The 48 hour week was not being honoured by many counties which had signed the convention. The protagonists of the 40-hour week would be better employed in tiring to bring other countries into line with the 48-hour week. Such a thing would case the situation by removing some unfair competition.

11 October 1933

The Nineteenth Annual General Meeting of the Austin Motor company limited, was held on Monday last at Longbridge works, Birmingham.

Sir Herbert Austin, K.B.E., J.P. (the chairman), in moving the adoption of the report and accounts(which showed a gross trading profit of £1,188,440) said.

Increased Continental Contracts

I have also received a cablegram from our export director, Mr. Ash, who is up for re-election and who is at present in Paris. He informs me that Continental contracts already completed show, an increase of 50 per cent.
above last year's record sales. Our models are attracting great attention and favourable comment, the Austin exhibit of 11 vehicles being the largest individual exhibit in the Salon.

I am sure it is generally recognized that the high quality of Austin products has never been sacrificed for economic production or price consideration and the success of the company can be attributed largely to this policy. Cars manufactured at Longbridge have gained an enviable reputation throughout the world for their dependability and long service. This goodwill is of great value to us and we are determined to do all in our power to retain it.

Registration figures show that the three most popular horse-power " classes " in the country are the " Eight," the " Ten," and the " Twelve," and in all of these we are represented by tried and proved models which are already well established in public favour.

Faith In Light Car Justified

Without doubt our faith in the light car has been fully justified by results and I think we can rightly claim that the experience gained in the manufacture of this type of car has done more to improve the motor-car " breed " than the manufacture of the large models ever did. So much for the past: - what of the future. ? In the course of my address at the New Programme Announcement to our agents in August. I was able to refer to the fact that our 1933-34 schedule had already been contracted for by our distributors in the home market. Agents in the Dominions and various foreign countries are also contracting for a larger turnover than last year. This, I think, in itself is in extremely gratifying start to the season and augurs well for the success of our present trading year.

The manner in which the programme has been received by trade and public alike also gives us the greatest confidence for future business and I believe that when we hold our general meeting in 1934 we shall be able to report another good year.

Unsurpassed Range Of Models

I am sure that I am fully justified in saying that we have to-day a range of models which for scope, dependability, and economy are unsurpassed by any other manufacturer, and with the latest improvements introduced they represent the "high water mark" of motor-car values.

The completeness of the present Austin range will be apparent when I tell you that it covers some 92 per cent. of the potential motor-car demand. Its value to our dealer organization is fully realized and appreciated by them, and I am sure that in the coming year their loyalty to the company will be amply rewarded.

The number of employees on the pay-roll has increased from some 5,300 in 1924 to more than 15,000 at the present time, and it is not unreasonable to expect that the number will rise to at least 20,000 in the busy season commencing in March next.

A telling picture of the growth and progress of the Austin Motor Company is obtained from the latest trade statistics, which show that in the past 10 years, the total motor-vehicle production in this country increased by 70 per cent. Austin production, however, increased by no less than 350 per cent.

The extent to which employment gains from the success of a company such as this can be realized from the fact that it is estimated that our activities at Longbridge employ directly and indirectly some 100,000 workers.

Pension Scheme

I would draw your attention to an item in the report which refers to the fact that during the past Year a staff pension and life assurance scheme has been inaugurated and that in the current year we are arranging for a savings and sickness scheme for all other employees, both of which schemes will receive substantial annual payments from the company. These benefits will, I am sure, be appreciated by Austin employees and give them a feeling of security which will undoubtedly make for a better understanding between the company and its workpeople, and I take this opportunity of congratulating them upon the loyal assistance which they have given and the part they have played in the company's success.

Our suppliers will all, I am sure, feel gratified with the strength of our balance sheet knowing that a big share of the success is owing to their cooperation and their assistance is greatly appreciated by us.

At last there are definite signs that the difficulties which have beset this country for many years are diminishing and that trade and conditions generally are decidedly brighter than they have been for some time. Given a settled Government and industrial Peace we shall find, I am confident, that at the end of the next year Britain will not only have regained much of her old industrial prestige but will be in a better and happier position than any country in the world.

I think, ladies and gentlemen, what I have said will be sufficient to indicate the strong position of the company and its excellent prospects for the future.

I will now move that the directors’ report and accounts be received and adopted, and will ask Mr Payton to second the motion.

19 November 1933

Competition From Japan
To The Editor

Sir,--On various occasions I have referred to the difficulties British industry may have to face in the future from Japanese competition in world markets, and the enclosed extracts taken from a letter I have received from a friend at present in Japan, who has had some 30 years' experience of the country, do nothing to dispel my apprehensions of the situation.I have seen a good deal recently in the English Press of unfair Japanese competition, and much has been written of the low standard of living of the Japanese working classes, and of conditions in factories and mills. for the most part it is without foundation. True, the standard of living is below that of Britain, you cannot change a nation in a decade front the frugal standards of centuries of living, but all the Japanese live well according to their own standards. They are well fed, they are well clothed, they are strong and healthy, and they are multiplying at the rate of more than 1,000,000 year.

The stamina of the people is very high because nearly every school child of both sexes engages in athletics of some kind or other. They excel in many sports. This year several world's records have been beaten by the Japanese in swimming and running. At tennis they have champions. At Rugby they beat the crack team from Canada. At boxing recently the best fighters of 17 ships of the British Fleet failed to register a win against the Jap boxers, though the latter are shorter and fitter. In fact, there were half a dozen British boxers " knocked out " by the Japs.

The real reason for the success of the Japs is the fact that they are thorough in all they undertake. They investigate everything. They are taught to dig and delve into every subject until they have mastered it. In school, college, university, and in commerce they are constantly inquiring and never giving up until they know. Their investigations are continued throughout their lives. Abroad, in all countries you will find the Japanese student always a student, never posing as knowing anything, but always seeking to increase knowledge.

It is, however, in the commercial world where theJapanese are a present-power and a possible greater menace. Lancashire is crying out to-day and Yorkshire will be crying put tomorrow. I have seen woollen goods here, manufactured goods sold at a cost below what we pay for the spun wool in England. Its new to see wool in Japan. It has only developed these last few years, but Japan was Australia's biggest buyer last year and her exports are already assuming size. Every village now has wools for sale for knitting and many shops display knitted goods. I saw some worsted cloth some days ago which I could not distinguish from West of England weaving. This is the product of one weaving centre only as yet, but it will develop, and Yorkshire will feel the effect of the competition.

In cotton spinning there is a mill, true it is a demonstration mill, run by the maker of the looms, where one girl tends 38 looms! This, is an absolute fact.There are thousands of looms running where the girls tend over 20 each. The operatives are young. at their, very brightest from, say, 14 to 23, and then they leave to get married. The cotton mills always have new fresh vigour to run their machinery, not, as in many English mills, with operatives who have worked on the same looms and frames, in cases I know quite 50 years.

You read of the awful conditions of the Japanese workpeople, but it is mostly false. The cotton operatives have fine living quarters, artistic garden surrounding, and recreation centres with concert rooms and theatre all free. Each month an excursion is given to them to some historic point of interest, and they are taught concerning those places, thus providing education in an attractive form.

In heavy engineering we may soon see Japan as a power to be reckoned with. There is a project for a steel works near Kobe where the pig iron to be exported from Manchuria will be refined and converted.A harbour is to be dredged, giving a channel at any state of the tide, and the furnace will occupy some500 acres. The land has been acquired and already the foreshore is being reclaimed. There was infinite wisdom if nothing else in Japan’s "Assistance to Manchuria to control her future destiny." Some of the finest coal and iron ore in the world, and also gold, in Manchuria.

It has become suddenly cold in Japan, and I entered a department store yesterday to buy a pair of gloves.I selected a dark brown pair of deerskin, very well made and quite up to the standard of a 7s. 6d. Pair inBirmingham, though perhaps not, as flaring as the lemon-coloured guinea pairs we sometimes see. They are good quality and most serviceable. and the price was 95 sen, At to-day's rate of exchange 1s. 1d!

The sooner we realize that Japan is going to come into our markets even in face of heavy duties the sooner we find some means of improving our own methods of production.

Aesthetically, perhaps, Japan may be deteriorating.Her superb craftsmanship in many of the arts is dying.I see this in the old galleries where art can sometimes be purchased. She is becoming modernized. Speaking with old acquaintances in art curio circles, they deplored the lack of pride in art craftsmanship, the desire of youth to become commercially successful.

Yours faithfully.
Longbridge Works. Northfield, Birmingham,

9 April 1934

To The Editor

Sir, l have received an interesting letter from a correspondent in Pondoland, South Africa, in which he brings to my notice the harm that is being done to British exports, trade by people at home who still consider that the British motorcar is not designed for service overseas. He cites an incident of a doctor who recently arrived in Pondoland straight from England and took with him a car of a well-known American make. The doctor stated that he had previously owned two British cars, but before leaving home had been advised by friends to sell these and take with him an American car. as British cars were not suitable for African conditions.

My correspondent points out that British cars are considered highly dependable and most suitable for the work they have to perform in that part of Africa, and goes on to say that it seems ironical that while those on the spot are doing all they can to further British business some people at home, through lack of knowledge, are taking such an opposite course.

The Austin Motor Company are doing a big export trade with the Colonies, and our experience bas proved that British cars under difficult conditions are just as satisfactory as cars from any other part of the world.

Yours faithfully,
Longbridge Works, Northfield, Birmingham. April 5-1934

13 August 1934

Cars Of 1935
Austin Programme
Improvements and Prices

The spectacular and sensational, merely as such, find no place in the Austin programme for 1935, and the firm have wisely aimed at bringing their chassis up to date with a certain number of new bodies and giving high value with modem and full equipment, improved appearance, and that trustworthiness on which the success of the Austin organization has been founded and maintained for many years.

Taking first the Seven, for over 12 years the baby of the Austin range and the car which has probably popularized motoring more than any other, there is an entirely new model known as the Ruby four-seater saloon, which is priced at £120, or as the Ruby fixed bead saloon at £112.

With this new body and fresh radiator design the Seven is transformed in appearance. The radiator proper is protected by a neat grill, and the cowling is cellulosed to match the body finish. With a moderate rake and a forward mounting position, the new design merges smoothly into the relatively long bonnet, from which the body lines sweep rearwards. The curves blend with the back-swept rear panel which encloses the spare wheel.

An important new feature included to suit this body is the dropped chassis with special side member. The result is that the floor level is lower than formerly by 5in., and, of course, the car is more stable, while it has been possible to fit a new type of door with light yet strong window framing. The width of the doors, with the low floor, which is without foot-wells makes the rear seats much easier to reach than before.

Other interesting new features of the Ruby saloon are the easily adjustable front seats, flush-fitting direction indicators, a disappearing luggage carrier, bigger tyres of 4in. by 17in., and the battery and tools under the bonnet. There are large, separately adjustable louvres in the scuttle, and the rear windows can be opened vertically at the back to give additional ventilation. The de-luxe equipment includes hide upholstery, sliding roof and single-bar bumpers.

Another noteworthy model is the Pearl which is planned on similar lines to the saloon but is a cabriolet, in which the folding head has full and half opening positions. This car is priced at £128. It has flush fitting direction indicators, and the same type of quarter windows as on the saloon are included, an unusual refinement for a small cabriolet. These cars have a needle-bearing propeller shaft, and improvements include a new instrument panel with concealed lighting.

The 2-seater, now called the Opal, is the same as before. It costs £100. The open 4-seater, £108, has, however the new frontal design.

Simple Controls

The controls on all models have been simplified by the adoption of automatic ignition, combined strangler and throttle control, automatic return for the direction indicators (worked by the steering), and a foot operated dip switch for the headlamps. These points, like greater stability, are contributions to greater road safety. On the Seven range, with certain exceptions on the sports models, there are a new magnetic speedometer, electric screen wiper, headlamps with ribbed fronts to give an even spread of light, and separate side lamps.

The greatest mechanical change, and one which applies to all 1935 Austin cars, is the incorporation of synchromesh for second as well as third and fourth speeds. This policy is right and progressive.

During the past season the sales of the Austin Ten Four are stated to have been 36 per cent. in advance of those for the previous 12 months, and over 50,000 Ten Fours have now been delivered. With the exception of the Sports Tourer the whole range of these models have the new radiator described above.

There is a new saloon known as the Lichfield, which sells at £172 10s., or as a fixed head saloon at £I58. The back of the body ends in a rounded panel, which encloses the spare wheel and drops to form a luggage platform. The de-luxe fittings include a sliding roof, hide upholstery, flush fitting direction indicators, and single bar bumpers, while automatic return of the direction indicators and a foot worked dip switch are included. Here there are compensated voltage control, dual screen wipers, thermostatic cooling, as well as the new headlamps, and so forth. The Open Road Tourer and the Clifton two-seater each sell at £152, while the Colwyn cabriolet is priced at £178.

In addition to synchromesh for second as well as third and fourth speeds, and the various control and fitment improvements, the latest Light Twelves have the new front, which includes deeply domed and valanced wings. The Light Twelve-Four sells either as a two-seater or open tourer at £172 10s., while the Ascot saloon is £218 or the fixed head saloon £198.

The Light Twelve-Six can be had with a 13.9 or 15.9 h.p. 6-cylinder engine, and here prices run from £200 for the open cars to £235 for the Ascot saloon, apart from the sports models. The Sixteen and Eighteen range has proved popular in the last 12 months, as is evidenced by the fact that sales arc 83 per cent. in advance of those for the previous year.

A new saloon is the York, which has the new radiator and the improved wings and fairings, which are well shown oft on a chassis of this wheelbase. The de-luxe specification provides much refinement, and occasional seats are available at little extra cost, so that seven persons can travel in the car. The York saloon is priced at £328, while the same body, with a fixed head, a division, and an electric telephone, is known as the Chalfont, and costs £338. The Hertford five-seater saloon is similar to the York, but has a shorter wheelbase. It costs £318. All models of the Sixteen and Eighteen are available with the Hayes transmission at extra cost.

As to the Twelve-Four 12.8 h.p. the Westminster, Carlton, Iver, with division, are being retained, while there are the two Berkeley saloons, and prices vary from £275 to £325. While the Twelve-Four is the 4-cylinder 12.9 h.p. counterpart of the Sixteen and incorporates the new gearbox, dual screenwipers, and adjustable rear seating, the controls remain unaltered.

Modern Lines

The biggest of the Austin range is the 23.5 h.p. Twenty, which as the Mayfair limousine or landaulette costs £650 or as the Ranelagh limousine or landaulette £595. The Mayfair models follow the new lines, and a special feature is the spare wheel compartment, enclosed by a shapely rear panel which can be dropped to form a luggage platform. Modern lines have been aimed at without detracting from head and leg room and general comfort. The frame of the Twenty chassis is dropped and cross-braced, and the propeller-shaft with needle-bearing universal joints, the additional synchromesh engagement, and simplified controls are included.

There are five sports cars now in active production two Sevens, the Speedy and the Nippy, both open two-seaters; the sports tourer Ten Four, called the Ripley; and the Light Twelve. Six Newbury sports tourer and Kempton sports saloon. Here prices run from £142 for the Nippy to the Kempton at £305. Most of the improvements applicable to the general range are features also of the sports cars.

The vans now include four useful vehicles varying in load capacity from, 5cwt. to 10 cwt., in carrying space from 51 to 88 cubic feet, and in price from, £108 to £190. On the special Twenty ambulance chassis a cross-braced frame and Dewandre servo braking are included, there is a Sixteen ambulance on the long 10ft. wheelbase, and a new Ten-Four taxi chassis with dropped cross-braced frame, synchromesh for third and top, worm-driven back axle, inverted rear springs to give low body mounting, coil ignition with automatic advance compensating voltage control, and special taxicord tyres.

Lastly, the Austin Company have re-entered the marine engineering field, and the new engine is a marine edition of the Seven power unit, to be known as the Thetis. The engine has several special features, and is stated to develop over 13 h.p. at 3,000 r.p.m.

14 August 1934

Sir Herbert Austin on Road Safety

Sir Herbert Austin, speaking at Longbridge Birmingham, yesterday, said that road safety was a national responsibility, and as such demanded national cooperation, but that cooperation would not be evident until all road users were made equally aware of their responsibilities. The driving tests were, he considered, a useless restriction, except, of course, in the case of public conveyances, for he did not doubt that 99 per cent. of motorists involved in accidents would pass any reasonable test. The same applied to legislation imposing a speed limit of 30 miles an hour. He did not consider that 30 miles an hour could be taken as a safe speed. In some cases it would be too fast, in others unnecessarily slow, and would merely add to the serious traffic congestion already existing in some districts.

The Government must not shirk its responsibilities by, making the motorist the scapegoat, for he believed that the majority of motorists were considerate, law-abiding citizens paying far more than their just share of taxation. It was ridiculous to suppose that they wished to commit suicide or that they did not value life as much as any other member of the community.

31 August 1934

Reducing Accidents to the Editor

Sir, In my private capacity as a motor manufacturer, and as a motorist of 40 year standing,having a clean record as to accidents, I view with very great interest the efforts now being made by the Government, through its Minister of Transport, to reduce the number of death sand injuries caused by users of the roads. In matters of this kind, involving the freedom of millions of people, one must be guided to a large extent by what has already been accomplished by, and the experience of, such cities as Helsingfors and Paris, for instance. These show that the elimination of the use of the motor horn has not only reduced the noise, but 'has also definitely and substantially reduced the accidents, in the case of Helsingfors by more than 50 per cent. during the last four years. In the case of Paris, the regulation was made in order to reduce noise, and in Helsingfors to reduce accidents.

Of course the suppression of the us, of the born will considerably reduce average? speed,especially at first, but nevertheless your readers may be assured that there is no section of the community more desirous of reducing accidents on the road than the motor manufacturer. Anything that is humanly possible in this direction will receive our sympathetic support.

For years we have been working on the problem of building silent automobiles, and I assert, without any reservation, that the cars purchased in this country today are as silent, if kept in reasonably good repair. as it is possible to expect, and much less noisy than trains, trams,or horse-drawn traffic. I am personally of the opinion that the elimination of the use of the horn, except in the case of real necessity, would result in a reduction of accidents on our roads.

I am yours faithfully,
Longbridge Works, Birmingham

01 September 1934

The Motorist and Noise, Use of Horns

To the Editor of the Times

Sir, In my private capacity as a motor manufacturer, and as a motorist of 40 years' standing, having a clean record as to accidents, I view with very great interest the efforts now being made by the Government, through its Minister of Transport, to reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by users of the roads.

In matters of this kind, involving the freedom of millions of people, one must tie guided to a large extent by what has already been accomplished by, and the experience of such cities as Helsingfors and Paris, for instance. These show that the elimination of the use of the motor horn has not only reduced the noise, but;has also definitely and substantially reduced the accidents, in the case of Helsingfors by more than 50 per cent. during the last four years. In the case of Paris, the regulation was made in order to reduce noise, and in Heisingfors to reduce accidents.

Of course the suppression of the us of the horn will considerably reduce average speed, especially at first, but nevertheless your readers may be assured that there is no section of the community more desirous of reducing accidents on the road than the motor manufacturer. Anything that is humanly possible in this direction will receive our sympathetic support.

For years we have been working on the problem of building silent automobiles, and I assert, without any reservation, that the cars purchased in this country to-day are as silent, if kept in reasonably good repair, as it is possible to expect, and much less noisy than trains, trams, or horse-drawn traffic. I am personally of' the opinion that the elimination of the use of the horn, except in the case of real necessity, would result in a reduction of accidents on our roads.

I am yours faithfully,
Longbridge Works, Birmingham.

11 October 1934

Sir Herbert Austin On Its Burdens

Mr. Runciman, President of the Board of Trade, was the guest of honour at the annual dinner of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders in London last night.

Sir. Herbert Austin, president of the society, said they had not received the Government's support or consideration to the extent that the industry warranted. They had, nevertheless, reached the position of, the fourth most important industry in Great Britain, employing directly and indirectly 500,000 workers. They were fenced round with orders and regulations to an almost unbelievable extent, and the industry had not during the last five years had a moment free from uncertainty or anxiety.Had the taxation from the public been put to proper use, British roads would be among the best instead of among the most dangerous. The industry as a whole was disappointed in the manner in which its interests were overlooked in some of the trade treaties with foreign countries.

He could promise Mr. Hore-Belisha that they would do everything they could to help him in his efforts to make for better and safer road conditions; but he appealed for concise and simple regulations. At the moment the motorist had to look out for red lights, amber lights, green lights, white lines, steel-stud lines, islands, and police signals, while at the same time he had to dodge perambulators, cyclists, pedestrians, horse-drawn traffic, sheep, pigs and cattle, and even other motor-cars. There was little wonder that he found some difficulty in concentrating on his chief concern the proper control of his car.

Mr. Runciman, responding, said he agreed that taxation had been heavy, and it had been on a basis which did not help the industry in some markets, but he was not ready at a moment's notice to accept the doctrine that it would ease or aid the industry to change from a horse-power to a petrol tax. The motor industry did not appear on the face of it, to require any more artificial assistance than it already received. The Board of Trade had been doing something to alleviate the worries imposed upon the industry by some other departments.

5 January 1935

New Extension at Longbridge

In the new extension just completed at the Longbridge factory of the Austin Motor Company a wonderful pitch of coordinated operation has been achieved by using the latest conveying plant. This new shop, which has cost £20,000 and has a floor area of 41,000 square, feet, is devoted to body mounting and incidental processes; in it the combination of each Austin body and chassis occurring every one and a half minutes, or 1,000 times a week is now performed by electric switch. High up in the control gallery the operator has before him a second push button switches which determine the movement of the three body hoists. By one of them hoists each body is lifted from a reception platform and manoeuvred with the travelling and traversing motions until it can gently drop into position on the waiting chassis newly arrived from the erecting lines. In a few seconds the car stands ready for the finishing operations, and move off by a conveyor at anything up to 2ft. a minute.

In all, there are six of these moving, lines of car, each 100 yards long two of them having raised sections to enable mechanics to work below the passing cars securing body bolts, and so forth. Three feeder stores, in the form of mezzanine floor, supply the lines with all necessary equipment and parts, these stores being themselves supplied from the main receiving stores by a conveyor nearly 600 yards in length that incorporates over 200 trays or carriers. Every component required throughout the shop is thus automatically provided when and where wanted on the moving lines of cars, and near the end of each line an electrically operated quick-delivery pump supplies each Austin with fuel, so that it can be driven away under its own power for its road test.

Sewing through plywood

Progress in methods of motor vehicle production is phenomenally rapid to-day. Ingenious ideas are constantly being put successfully into practice whereby building costs may be reduced and the benefit subsequently passed on to the purchaser or user of the vehicle. An advanced type of sewing machine has been developed for use in the body-trimming department of Morris Motors, Limited. This machine actually sews through plywood. stitching down leather and Rexine at a speed comparable with that of the usual type of housewife's machine. The rate is 700 stitches a minute, and the needles are specially designed for the job.

Five units are in regular use. They are operated by girls, who display considerable skill in manipulating pieces of three-ply, which vary in size up to about four square feet in area. Inside door panels, of approximately this size, are trimmed at the rate of 30 an hour. This process represents a considerable advance on the original idea of fixing the trimming by means of tacks. It is not only quicker but productive of far greater service, as there is little likelihood of die trimming pulling away from the board.

13 August 1935

Anticipations of Sir Herbert Austin

Sir. Herbert Austin, speaking today at a luncheon attended by dealers and agents at the Austin Motor Company's works at Lonbridge, Birmingham, predicted that with settled government and no further restrictive legislation upon motorists or the manufacturers, the coming year would be the most successful experienced by the British motor industry.

During the past 12 months, he said, the Austin business had achieved new records. Sales returns showed a 26 per cent. increase on the previous year, which itself had been a record. In the export markets Austin products enjoyed increasing popularity, the past years’s showing an increase of 29% in spite of strenuous competition and the difficulties in the way of foreign trade, particularly in some of the larger Empire markets. In the wake of increased sales followed a welcome increase in employment, and during the year the number of workers at Longbridge showed a 13%. The average figure for the 12 months was 18,500.

He had no sensational surprise to announce. It was the considered opinion of the directors that yearly change solely for the sake of change was inadvisable, and they were therefore following the usual policy of improving existing models rather than making drastic changes in appearance and design. He did not think the slight increase in prices which had been found necessary on certain models would have any detrimental effect on sales.

October 1935

The Austin Models for 1936

The Austin models for the coming season comprise the Seven, the Ten-Four, the Light Twelve-Four, the Twelve-Six with 15.9 or 13.9 engine, the Sixteen and Eighteen and the Twenty. It was expected when the company introduced last year the Ruby saloon and Pearl cabriolet on a dropped chassis that the Seven would increase its popularity. It is stated that sales during the past year have achieved a new record. The braking system of the Seven has been improved, and the range now includes a new Open Road four-seater tourer, similar in line to the Ruby saloon, mounted on the same dropped chassis, and embodying a spare-wheel compartment and disappearing luggage grid. The two-seater has a new frontal design to bring it into line with the other models. Prices of the Seven run from £102 10s. for the two-scatcr to £142 for the Nippy sports two-seater, the Pearl cabriolet being £128, and the Ruby saloon £125 or with fixed head £118. The Open Road tourer costs £112.


The Ten-Four has also finished another year of record sales. An improvement noticeable in this model is the provision of Luvax hydraulic shock absorbers in place of the frictional type formerly fitted. Maintenance is further simplified by the titling of a self-lubricating carbon thrust, thus eliminating the oiling point for the clutch withdrawal thrust race. The lines of the Lichfield saloon and the Colwyn cabriolet are improved by the adoption of the swept roof line with a windscreen with curved top and corners, as introduced on the Seven last year. The Open Road tourer now has a rear panel design which encloses the spare wheel and provides a luggage platform. Prices of the Ten-Four range from El53 for the Open Road tourer, the Clifton two-seater. or the Lichfield fixed-head saloon, to £215 for the Ripley sports tourer. The Light Twelve range continues to he available.; with either a four-cylinder engine of 11.9 h.p. or a six-cylinder unit of 13.9 or 15.9 h.p. All these models have a down-draught carburettor, and the Light Twelve-Four has in addition a combined intake silencer and air cleaner. A new type of steering gear works with an hour-glass worm and sector. The range now includes an Open Road tourer having the distinctive lines of the Ascot saloon, with a spare-wheel compartment and luggage platform. A new form of the Eton two-seater has the latest frontal design. This model costs LISS, and the 11.9 h.p. Ascot saloon £208.


Perhaps the most important improvements for 1936 arc shown in the Sixteen and Eighteen models, for which the Girling type braking system has been adopted. Other improvements arc the cam steering gear, and one which the owner-driver will welcome is hydraulic jacking which is easily operated from the driving scat. A combined intake silencer and air cleaner is fitted to the carburettor, and the road springs have anti-friction disks between the main leaves to preserve suppleness. These cars can be had with the Hayes Self-selector transmission at £50 extra. The Hertford saloon costs £298 with the 16 h.p. engine, or £318 with the 18 h.p. unit. In this range there is the Chalfont saloon with division, costing £328 and £338 with the respective engines; and the York saloons which arc £10 less. The highest priced model is the four-light Westminster saloon, £348 with the 17.9 h.p. unit. The Austin Twenty can be obtained as the Mayfair limousine or landaulette, each priced at £55e. The innovations on the Twenty chassis include the adoption of hydraulic jacks and the Girling braking system. It will be seen that the range for 1936 is wide and that values arc good. Additions have also been made to the sports models.

13 October 1935

Sir Herbert Austin On McKenna Duties.
No Profiteering In The Motor Industry

Sir Herbert Auistin chairman of the Austin Motor Company Limited, presided at the “Olympia Dinner” of the firm at the Connaught Rooms last night. In proposing the toast of “The Austin Distributors and Agents,” he said that they were thankful to the Government for having reinstated the McKenna duties. They hoped the duties might be extended to include commercial vehicles, which had quite as much for justification for support as the passenger car. A proof that the duties had not resulted in profiteering was that the public were buying a much improved car to-day, and were not paying more than pre-war prices for the same equipment.

If the Government would agree to a tax on fuel instead of the present unjust system, they could bear with better resignation the uneconomic and costly war in which the money derived from the tax way being expanded. Referring to the negotiations which had taken place between the Austin Motor Company and American manufacturers, Sir Herbert said that he had been asked why he did not marry the American lass. “Well,” he added, “her dowry” was quite substantial, but my relations did not like her, and, therefore, the engagement had to be broken off.

I thought it would be safer for me to marry her than someone else, also that cooperation would have been better than competition. The future might prove that I was right as the scheme has been abandoned. I have resolved to do everything humanly possible to prove I was wrong, and I ask and expect that all the agents and friends of the company will assist me in this task.

14 February 1936

The Austin Motor Company announced a big extension scheme and centralization of all departments in one factory. The directors a few days ago authorized the expenditure of £399,000 in the erection of additional buildings and the purchase of plant and equipment. This expenditure will give the Longbridge works a big increase in productive capacity, and should result in lower manufacturing costs.

17 March 1936

Vast Plant at Longbridge

Many Austin Models.

The ubiquitous " Austin Seven" is the junior member of a large family of Austin cars, which includes a range of 10 h.p. models and 12 h.p. models, all with four-cylinder engines, and a range of 12 h.p.,16 h.p., 18 h.p., and 20 h.p. models with six-cylinder engines. And as to cost, some 11 or 12 years ago the makers marketed a Model at £800 and found a very limited demand for it; later it was produced for £250, and to date examples to the value of £26,000,000 have been sold at that price. How has it been done? Mass production and the conveyor system is the generally accepted answer, but it is wholly misleading. Admittedly to visit the Longbridge works of the company near Birmingham to-day is to see one of the largest motor factories in Europe. The value of the plant alone is over £4,000,000. It is housed in buildings occupying about 100 acres. The works give employment to nearly 20,000 people and have a road frontage of over a mile. Nearly everything is made on the premises, castings, drop forgings (the Austin drop-forging section is one of the largest in the country, body pressings, and so on. There are miles and miles of conveyors. Practically everything in the works goes on conveyors, the only exceptions being the workpeople, who travel to and from their working positions as other folk do by walking, and the pay packets which every Friday are carried in well-worn locked wooden boxes to the various section foreman's offices and handed individually to each employee.

Many Conveyors

Conveyors are everywhere, often three deep or three high, depending on one's viewpoint in the engine-erection section they make a positive maze out of which only the experienced know the way. They hedge in the core-making and foundry operations at every stage. The engines, completed and passed off test in one section of the works, are conveyed a considerable distance, passing over the railway sidings and through several sections of the factory to reach the chassis-erecting lines, where they automatically sort themselves out in their proper sizes and shunt themselves in sidings ready for inclusion in their proper chassis. But the conveyors have not made the Austin car cheap; they have merely been called into help. Judged by another standard, Austin cars should be rather dear, for the factory is one of the very few where there is to be found miles and miles of overhead shafting and leather belts. They are a legacy of the past which it is not possible to scrap at a moments notice.

The employment of women on core making in the foundry, on many of the lighter repetition machines, and in the car-finishing processes has nothing to do with the cost, while the fact that the average engineering wage of the district is not nearly so high as the average wage of the Austin worker is more confusing than helpful. The real secret of the low price and quality of the Austin car is to be found in the intelligent policy of the executive and the consistent way in which it is applied. They claim to know throughout the day, to very narrow limits, whether they are making a profit or a loss, working on the basis of not " What can we make a car for ? " but " What will the free market pay for a car.?

Production Time

"One aspect of building a motor-car is that of the time that economically can be spent in production knowing the various processes through which the component parts have to pass, it is possible to give a definite time quota to each and see where effort is being wasted. For example, at one time the cylinder blocks of Austin cars involved costly machining operations, as regards time and effort. The executive studied how to save effort, not from the angle of what had been done but from the negative point of view of what had not been done. A new method was then evolved which gave about five times the accuracy of the older system at fractional cost. At one time a certain size of aluminium piston cost one shilling to finish by a process that wasted time. To-day, giving a very much better piston, from every point of view, the equivalent process costs about 2.5d.

The appreciation of the time factor accounts for the conveyors everywhere for it is held that as a man has only his time and energy with which to trade it is unfair and unjust to waste it, hence the conveyor to bring raw material to him and take away the results of his labour. That has led to the installation on many machines in the works of an electrical recording device which makes a mark on a chart every time an operation is completed. The chart is divided into minutes and from it the speed of any operation can be read in the office of every section supervisor is a group of such recording machines covering every, machine tool.

If a machine stops, a member of the executive goes down to discover the reason and on a teleprinter sends to headquarters his explanation. The recording draws attention to faulty machines, faults in the tool room in sending out unsuitable tool and, from the operatives point of view better than all, faults on the part of the executive in not obtaining raw material or in not taking away the finished articles. With such a close check on all work done, the ordinary methods of accountancy are useless. A profit and low account every 12 months is found to be of as much use in preventing losses as an inquest is in saving life.

Tracing Losses

Losses must be known as soon as they occur, so that they may be dealt with. To handle that side of the question all accounting is done by a system of punched cards and code numbers. Books and typewriters are almost unknown in the office. In their places am numerous accounting machines and more remarkable machines which sort the cards, stop at faulty cards, and integrate and analyse the results so that in very few moments a statement of profit and loss can be secured. This checking and rechecking of the trading position of the firm goes on all day.

Every morning the appropriate heads of departments know definitely what are the stocks in all parts in the factory. A statement is prepared of every car body on the assembly lines, its condition, the stocks of parts on hand for its finishing, how many bodies there are of one type, the number of chassis there are ready for them, and for how many more of any class there are orders in hand. Even every faulty part is accounted for and reports are sent to all sections concerned with its production.

Such a close watch on all time-wasting operations might seem to suggest in essentials and inspecting, but it has just the opposite effect. Efficient operation becomes of paramount importance and every thing is done to secure. The press shops are lit by the largest of electric discharge lamps because their peculiar blue light has been found a better illuminate when sheet metal is being handled than the ordinary vacuum type of lamp. The assembly lines in the body shop have a double row of powerful lamps spaced about a yard apart with a marked increase in their number at the inspection points. A large proportion of the cloth used for interior finishing is passed before a strong light for the detection of weaving faults, while the skins used in the upholstery are cut up individually so that variations in grain and texture may be properly balanced.

Mimic Rain

Radiators, which are made in the works, are tested, first with internal air pressure under water and dried and then with water under pressure inside, Even the sunshine roof of the finished car is not taken for granted, for an inspector gets inside each car, closes all doors and windows and blows the horn. His assistant outside turns on a very passable imitation of an English downpour of rain, and while the water splashes and sprays over the roof the inspector looks critically for leaks. Another toot of the horn and the " rain " stops. The water is dried off by powerful air blasts and the car goes forward to have its paintwork polished and finished off. Minute blemishes in the painting which to an untrained eye are insignificant are ruthlessly marked out for treatment. All engines are run under their own power on test beds against dynamometers. The brakes of every chassis are chocked before it is passed forward to receive the body. In fact, Austin testing and inspecting is move severe than in many factories, for any faults or maladjustments which have to be dealt with mean a loss of time and consequently an increased cost on the vehicle affected.

A complete record is kept of the 6,000 machine tools in use. On one wall of a very small room are a series of cards, each representing a machine and grouped as the machines are grouped in the works. The colour of the card gives the age of the machine. A symbol on it disclose its nationality. Groups of numbers indicate the firm from which it was purchased (over 360 have been built by Austin’s themselves to their own designs and needs), its nature, the particular car parts for which it is used, and its price. A card index, made up from the group of cards, shows what it would cost to replace the machine, and its present value in use, the number of times it has been repaired and at what cost. and most important of all the amount of work it has done. No item is too big and no item too small for the attention of the Austin method of costing. It covers everything, from the air going into the cupolas in the foundry (it is weighed so that there is just sufficient for correct combustion) down to the smallest piece of emery paper used.

23 April 1936

Aircraft Factory

It is estimated that the new aircraft factory to be erected by the Austin Motor Company at Longbridge will cost some £300,000 to complete. The works will employ between 5,000 and 6,000 persons. Plans for the structure have now been provisionally approved by Bromsrove Rural District Council, and a considerable area of land is to be acquired. Actually the site is in Cofton Hackett parish, and since this forms part of a residential zoning area, the plans are subject to rezoning. The Bromsgrove Rural Council were informed that the site, in a valley, would render the buildings unobtrusive, and national needs and employment were considered of prime importance.

31 August 1936

Plans for the Austin Aircraft Factory

It is expected that production will begin next July at the new aircraft factory undertaken by the Austin Motor Company, Limited, on behalf of the Air Ministry. From now onwards the work of preparing the site will be carried on by night as well as by day. Some 25 acres have been acquired at Cofton Hackett, East of Longbridge Motor Works, and it is estimated that 180,000 cubic feet of soil will have to be excavated. High ground will be removed and taken to a low-lying area which is adjacent. This levering alone will take several weeks. Both Lowhill Lane and Groveley Lane, approaches to the site, are to be converted into first-class roads with separate tracks for cyclists, and a special siding will connect the works with the main Birmingham to Bristol line. Plans for the factory provide for a single-storey building, 15,000ft. long and 450ft. wide, with a floor space of 20 acres. The offices and canteen will form a three-storey block. There will be ample window space and the whole factory will be air-conditioned.

22 October 1936

It is stated that the demand for Austin cars is five times as great as that of a year ago, and that a big speed-up in production at the Longbridge factory has been begun. The Austin Export Department also reports record contracts. Six new body presses are being installed, ranging up to 500 tons, and additional body assembling lines are already in full operation. Two new finishing lines have also been laid down, making a total of seven, to provide a production capacity of 60 vehicles an hour. The Longbridge factory employs 19,000 workers at present, and will probably soon employ about 25,000. Further extensions to the works are being made.

20 January 1937

Lord Austin on Trade Confidence
Planning to Avoid a Relapse

Lord Austin appealed to members of the Federation of British Industries at a meeting at Manchester yesterday neither to think nor to use the words depression and slump. He said he personally did not see why the good times should not carry on indefinitely. He did not remember a time when we could look forward with greater confidence to the future, or when our industrial resources were better equipped to take their share in a steady advance to national security. Let the economists and financial experts put on their thinking caps and try to catch up with the engineers, and then slump periods, like plagues, would be things of the past. The prospects were bright, and there was no need for anxiety as to what was going to happen in two or three years. Let us resolve to do everything in our power to foster a spirit of confidence.

Lord Austin, who was speaking on " keeping, a grip on prosperity," said that in the motor industry they were enjoying the busiest period of their 37 years' history. At their works at Longbridge they were working to capacity and had more than 20,000 workpeople. In another four or five months they might have another 5,000. National confidence was returning. There was a freeing of money, an inducement to spend, not hoard. Depression was an entirely man-made state of affairs. Depressions were not caused by a real lack of demand, for there was no falling off in the wants or requirements of the people even though there might be the lack of a medium wherewith to purchase.

Present-day demand was greater than ever before. A commission of experts, consisting of industrialists, bankers, and economists, should be set up to suggest what steps should be taken to prevent a situation so often experienced in the past ever becoming possible again. We were still trying to reconcile the highly productive era of the twentieth century with the economic structure of the nineteenth.

April 1937

Austin progress over the years

Every year competition in the British motor industry becomes more severe, and every year more efficient machinery, better factory equipment and organization, and more rapidly productive methods of manufacture are devised to help those taking part in the enterprise. A survey of some outstanding motor works and of the activities of some manufacturers made with these facts in mind has produced the substance of this article, attention being focused generally upon production rather than upon the product.

The original Austin factory at Longbridge occupied two and a half acres, and when work was in full swing could produce 120 cars a year. There were about 270 workers. The first Austin car appeared early in 1906 and was a 4-cylinder tourer of 25/30 horse-power. This model showed a great improvement over the first Austin design of 1895 a three-wheeler with a horizontal single-cylinder engine or even that of 1900. To-day the normal output at Longbridge approaches 2,000 cars a week, in the manufacture of which nearly 20,000 workers are directly employed and about 130,000 indirectly. The factory has a road frontage of over a mile and occupies 100 acres: To arrive at this standard it has been necessary to spend over £2,500,000 on extensions and new plant.

Since 1922 prices of Austin cars have been halved, although quality and performance have been improved out of all recognition. There 'are many highly efficient and ingenious testing methods used in the factory, but here I propose to illustrate briefly the thoroughness of trying out new models before big production is started. Each of the new models for 1937 was tested over a strenuous route in the Swiss Alps by the Austin designers. The cars concerned were the new Seven, Ten, Twelve, and Fourteen saloons; and the Austin Eighteen. Particular attention was paid to power development at high altitudes, cooling and induction efficiency on prolonged climbs, and, the general stability of the new chassis designed with long springs of low periodicity, new steering gear, Girling brakes, and low-pressure tyres. The route, taken covered approximately 3,000 miles and include many famous Alpine passes, such as the Klausen, St. Gotthsard, Furka, Oderalp, and Grimsel, on which the designers made care test of all aspects of the performance of the new models.

These trials were made at a time of year when maximum temperatures might be expected and consequently proved the suitability of the new Austin for Alpine touring at high altitudes. Motorist who are familiar with the passes and know the hairpin bends and long gradients on them will be able to appreciate the strenuous nature of the trials, in which the cars were never spared. Altogether apart from many climbs en route, the tests involved an aggregate ascent for the five cars of approximately 250,000. The outward and return journeys through France and Switzerland also provided an opportunity to study the behaviour of the cars when used for fast long distance touring. Incidentally, before the cars left Switzerland a number of order for the mew models were received from the Austin distributors in Berne, Zurich, and LucerneIt is stated that the demand for Austin cars is five times as great as that of a year ago, and that a big speed-up in production at the Longbridge factory has begun.

5 July 1937

Lord Austin - Doctor of Law

At Birmingham University in the Great Hall, the Chancellor (Lord Cecil of Chelwood) conferred the honorary degree of Doctor of Law on Lord Austin, chairman and founder of the Austin Motor Compa ny.

16 Sept 1937

Mr. Ernest Brown visits Longbridge

At the conclusion of his tour of Government training centres in Birmingham and of the Austin Motor Works at Longbridge. Mr Ernest Brown, Minister of Labour, said he asked Lord Austin what was his firm's attitude towards the problem of elderly men. He was told that in the past six months the firm had engaged 646 men over 40 years of age, 150 men over 50, and six, men over 65. That said Mr. Brown, was an, example which he would like to see all large firms follow.

21 October 1937

Lord Austin, speaking on "British Industry," at a dinner to agents representatives of the Austin Motor Company Limited at Grosvenor House last night, gave figures as to the growth of the business since the introduction of the Austin cars in 1906.

Nearly three-quarter of a million motor-cars, he said, had left Austin assembly lines since that date. The company had paid out to agents, in form of discounts, rebates, and bonuses more than £32,300,000. During the same period purchases at Longbridge works for materials and plant had exceeded £80,000,000. Motor-car manufacture had become one of the largest industries in the country. The industry provided the Exchequer with one-tenth of the National revenue.

For the sake of industrial prosperity, he trusted that we should see in the very near future the requirements in raw materials and manufacturing, equipment - resuming more normal price: levels. While increased prices did to some extent act as a stimulant to industry, there was a very real danger of' a brake being put on the trade momentum if they advanced beyond their present high levels.

Lord Greenwood, paying tribute to the results of the distributors and dealers activities, said that there were 3,400 to 3,500 of them throughout the world. With one of the distributors, selling over 9,000 cars a year.

December 1937

Captain Arthur C R Waite

Jewellery valued at £3,000 was stolen on Saturday night from the home in Bishop’s Avenue, Highgate, of Captain Arthur C. R. Waite. The jewellery consists of a diamond tiara, two diamond and emerald bracelets, a diamond wrist-watch, and diamond and emerald rings, the property of Mrs Waite.

Maids were in the house at the time, but nothing was heard of the thief, who appears to have first entered a dressing room, and, baffled by a door communicating with the bedroom, returned to the balcony and cut a hole in the bedroom window. An emergency telephone call to Scotland Yard brought police cars to the house within less than a minute after the discovery of the theft.

24 February 1938

Presentation to Lord Austin
Cheque for Birmingham Hospital

Lord Austin was to-day presented at Longbridge Works with a cheque for £7,500 on behalf of the Austin distributor and dealer organization, Great Britain and Northern Ireland, to mark his golden wedding.

In a speech in acknowledgment, he said that any success he had, was largely due to the loving care and help he received from Lady Austin. The cheque is intended to provide for two wards at Birmingham's new hospital centre, which will cost £1,000,000 and is to be opened by the King and Queen on July 14 1938.

Lord Austin handed the cheque to Mr. J C Parsons. hon. treasurer of the Birmingham United Hospitals. who referred to it as a wonderful indication of the good feeling existing between the Longbridge Works management and that assembly.As spokesman for the subscribers, of whom over 150 out of 1,000 were present, Mr. E. A. RADFORD. M.P., of Manchester, congratulated Lord and Lady Austin on their golden wedding. A book of remembrance containing the names of the subscribers and recording the occasion was also presented to Lord and Lady Austin.

10 March 1938

The King visits Austin Shadow Factory

The King has visited to-day five of the shadow factories engaged in aircraft production for the Government. To the inexpert mind there would seem to be little shadow about it and much substance-endless miles, that is. of machines unceasingly at work turning rough steel into highly finished parts.

For the King it has been a strenuous day, impressive in the vast picture of organized industry it has unfolded. It has been throughout a day of interest, mainly in seeing a great variety of mechanical processes and occasionally in learning of sonic skilled operator having come into this active branch of industry from the depression of the special areas. There was, too, one, brief interlude irrelevant to the plans of immediate aircraft production when the King enjoyed seeing the first motor-car owned by his grandfather, King Edward VIl, and enjoyed still more a short ride in it driven by a chauffeur who had served King Edward. This royal visit has been a private occasion in that it has been free from civic and other formal ceremonies.

The King arrived at Birmingham last night and the royal train remained at a siding This morning it drew in to the siding of the Austin factory at Longbridge. and the King was received by Lord Austin, chairman of the Austin Motor Company, Limited. and others connected with the firm.

Airframes and Engines

The Austin factory, for the manufacture of airframes and aero-engines, covers 15 acres of ground. Production is in hand on about 75per cent. of the various components of'Fairy Battle’ aircraft, and in the aero-engine section crankshafts, reduction gears, oil supply,and controls for VP airscrews are being manufactured for the Bristol "Mercury VIII"engine. The first process which the King watched was the blanking of main plane ribs in a 350-ton hydraulic press. From that he went on to see the assembly of fuselage and the welding of fuel tanks. The assembly of wing ribs was watched with special interest by the King, who spoke to some of the men about their work. In the engine section of the factory propeller tests were in progress, and those who looked on were provided with cotton wool to deaden the terrific noise in their cars. As he left the factory the King was cheered with great enthusiasm by the vast crowd of workers who had gathered at the main entrance.

19 May 1938

Lord Austin views on the roads.

Delegates from every glass-making centre in the country were present at Droitwich Spa to-day for the fifth British Glass Convention, which will continue until Saturday. Lord Austin, who was the guest of honour at the official luncheon, said that the roads to-day were quite inadequate for the fast-developing motor traffic. We were using roads made for horse traffic. Successive Governments have betrayed the motoring interests. taxed them heavily, and diverted the money into other channels. We were approaching the time when arterial roads, aerial or under-ground, would be needed as much as great highways running through and round the suburbs. Lord Austin described the staggering, of hours at Longbridge and said staggering holidays were bound to come.

14 June 1938

Purchase Of Aircraft Abroad
Lord Austin On A “Foolish Position”

Lord Austin, speaking at a luncheon which was given at Birmingham yesterday by the National Union of Manufacturers (Midland Area) to meet Midland members of the House of Commons Industrial Group, said that he saw no reason why we must buy aeroplanes from America. He agreed that British firms might not be supplying the quantity of machines required at present but he emphasized the difficulties to be overcome by motor-car manufacturers called upon to build aeroplanes. We ought to ensure, he said, that we did not again fall into such a foolish position as the present one, in which we had to seek the aid of a foreign country.

Lord Austin called upon the Government to give attention to the problem of German motor-cars sold in Britain. To-day, he said, many thousands of German cars were coming into the country, and the conditions in which that competition with the British manufacturers was being created should be exposed. It demanded definite and drastic treatment.

Wing Commander J. A. C. Wright, M.P. for the Erdington Division of Birmingham, said he had heard that since the dangers of competition from German cars had been given publicity one local agent's sale for the cars had practically ceased. He was convinced that if the people of this country realized that every time they bought one of those cars they put a British workman out of work for approximately six months they would give up purchasing them.

22 October 1938

Increased Production and Employment

It is stated that the demand for Austin cars is five times as great as that of a year ago, and that a big speed up in production at the Longbridge factory has been begun.

The Austin Export Department has reported record contracts. Six new body presses are being installed, ranging up to 500 tons, and additional body assembling lines are already in full operation. Two new finishing lines have also been laid down, making a total of seven, to provide production capacity of 60 vehicles an hour. The Longbridge factory employs 19,000 workers at present, and will probably soon employ about 25,000. Further extensions to the works are being made.

1 March 1939

Buckingham Palace

The King and Queen, attended by the Viscountess Halifax, the Right Hon. Neville Chamberlain, M.P. (Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury; Minister in Attendance), Sir Eric Mieville and Commander Conolly Abel Smith, R.N., arrived at Cofton Station Station this morning, by special train en route to Birmingham, and were received by the Lord Austin.

Their Majesties were conducted to the Austin Aero Factory, Longbridge Works, The King expressed his surprise and satisfaction at the great progress made in production since his visit just under a year ago. After a tour of inspection, rejoined the Royal Train, where The King Queen were received by the Vice-Lieutenant of Warwickshire (The Lord Willoughby de Broke).

On their arrival at New Street station the King and Queen were welcomed by the Lord mayor and the High Sheriff of Warwickshire, Mr Baron Ash, who were presented by Mr Chamberlain, the Minister in attendance, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment, commanded by Captain R W Harris, was mounted with band and colours.


18 Mar 1939

Lord Austin’s Complaint of Horse-power Tax

Criticism of the new horse-power tax on cars was made by Lord Austin, speaking at Longbridge, Birmingham, yesterday. He said the Government relies to a considerable extent on the motor industry for the carrying out of the rearmament programme, and the time is ill-advised to threaten its continued development and its capacity for employment.

"The heavy burden of taxation, both on horse-power and petrol, has to a large extent shaped our export destiny, for the comparatively small demand for the larger cars in the home market has made it impossible to get down to export prices. For years this taxation has been so severe that it has almost precluded the higher horse-power British car from the overseas market. This latest blow will probably complete the job."

Unfortunately, it never seemed possible in this country to get the motorist and motoring associations to present a really united front comparable to the cyclists, for example.

The Austin company has refusing to be panicked by the international situation, their confidence in the future being based on the preparedness and strength of this country.

23 March 1939

Full Protection From Bombs
New Austin Scheme Shelters 55ft. Under The Ground

The Austin Motor Company has practically completed its first air raid protection scheme, which is one of the biggest in the country, providing deep shelters for some 5,000 workers, and is beginning its second scheme to provide deep shelters for 10,000 more persons at a cost of £25,000.

The new scheme provides for a huge tunnel system, excavated out of sandstone, under the test track and flying ground adjacent to the 100-acre Longbridge works. The tunnels are being driven under the test track at four points at the rate of 40ft. a day. They will conform to a standard semicircular design with a floor width of 16ft. 9in. and a height of 9ft. and will be reinforced with steel arches and steel sheeting. The average depth will be 55ft. below the surface, and, with access through gently inclined adits, it will be possible for full occupation to be effected within a few minutes of an air raid warning. Deliveries of the steel linings and reinforcements have been guaranteed; and with the excavating work (which involves the removal of 18,000 tons of sandstone) proceeding night and day it is estimated that the tunnels will be completed and fully equipped within 10 weeks.

1,000 Yards Of Tunnel

The tunnels will have an aggregate length of 1.000 yards and will provide seats for half the occupants. A very efficient system of ventilation will be provided with air inlets situated 18ft above very high ground which should be clear of any surface concentrations of gas, so that the adits can be provided with air locks. Supplies of drinking water, rest and first-aid rooms, lavatories, and other amenities are included in the scheme. There will be auxiliary generating sets in case of failure in the electricity supply, and loudspeakers throughout the system for broadcasting instructions, music, and news.

When the shelters are completed there will be protection for all the employees engaged in motor-car production. If, as is excepted, the Air Ministry sanctions a similar scheme for the Austin aircraft factory, the Austin Company will be the first big industrial organization to provide complete protection for all its employees.

16 Dec 1940

Austin Motor Accounts

The Austin Motor Company, of Birmingham announces that owing to difficulties arising from the war the completion and audit of the company's accounts for the financial year ending July 31 last have not been completed.

As it is necessary to hold a general meeting during 1940 the annual general meeting has been convened for December 30, but no business will be transacted.