Product Quality and Reliability: The Silver British Lemon
This chapter describes post-war period product images which represented the quality and reliability of British cars. The West German Automobile Club awarded its ‘Silver Lemon’ award, which was presented annually to the car with the most faults, to more BLMC models than any other during the 1970s. Throughout the post-war period, management attributed the ‘quality problem’ primarily to poor workmanship. The causes of low British quality were consistent throughout the war period and related to the industry's wider problems. Assembly errors and sabotage were manifestations of a disaffected workforce. Quality levels also declined when management increased track speeds either to recoup output lost to strikes or to meet increased demand. Nonetheless, the accountability for the enduring quality problem therefore rested with management and engineering.
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