British Motor Holdings Ltd
(BMH) was a British
motor company created in an attempt to halt the decline in Britain's manufacturing base in the 1960s.
The Wilson Labour Government (1964–1970)
came to power at a time when British manufacturing industry was in decline and decided that the remedy was to promote more mergers, particularly in the motor industry. Chrysler
was already buying into the Rootes Group
, Leyland Motors
had acquired Standard Triumph
and had become a major automotive force. The British Motor Corporation
(BMC) was suffering a dramatic drop in its share of the home market, and in 1966 it succumbed to the pressures, and along with Pressed Steel
, the car body manufacturer, merged with Jaguar Cars
to form British Motor Holdings
From the Jaguar perspective, the merger came about because Sir William Lyons, the managing director and founder of Jaguar Cars Ltd was nearing retirement, and did not have a viable succession plan within the company. His only son John Lyons had been killed in a car accident in 1955, and his other board members were of a similar age to himself.
Another factor was that bodyshells for Jaguar production were fabricated by Pressed Steel, a supplier critical to Jaguar Cars and now controlled by BMC.
From the BMC perspective, Jaguar Cars was attractive because it was a success in the US market, and was thereby hugely profitable at a time when BMC lacked the funds to invest sufficiently in modern production facilities or new models.
BMH thus inherited a plethora of British automotive marques:
- * Jaguar
- * Daimler
- * Coventry Climax
- * Guy
- * Austin
- * Morris
- * MG
- * Riley
- * Wolseley
- * Vanden Plas
- * BMC
BMH, however, had a short life because in 1968, still struggling, it merged with the prosperous Leyland Motor Corporation
to form the British Leyland Motor Corporation