In the news: Peu­geot closes Lin­wood

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - The Way We Were -

We’ve men­tioned the clo­sure of the for­mer Rootes Lin­wood car plant in Scot­land, but the tale de­serves fur­ther de­tail. The fac­tory near Glas­gow was op­ti­misti­cally opened by the Duke of Ed­in­burgh in 1963, to make the Hill­man Imp. Rootes had been ‘en­cour­aged’ – ie, forced – to site it far away from its Mid­lands heart­land.

That meant em­ploy­ees with lit­tle ex­pe­ri­ence of build­ing cars, and un­for­tu­nately, this showed in the qual­ity of the prod­uct. Early Imps be­came quite no­to­ri­ous for re­li­a­bil­ity is­sues.

The Imp was un­able to top­ple the Mini’s dom­i­nance and never sold in the num­bers Rootes was hop­ing for. This lack of suc­cess helped Chrysler to take over. It at least in­tro­duced Avenger to Lin­wood, fol­lowed by Imp suc­ces­sor, the Sun­beam, but the US con­glom­er­ate’s own home coun­try trou­bles and woe­ful man­age­ment style meant the 1970s was a tem­pes­tu­ous time for Lin­wood. In 1978, Chrysler sold its Euro­pean arm to Peu­geot, which rein­tro­duced the Tal­bot mar­que to sell the cars it had in­her­ited. But it also re­viewed the en­tire ex-Chrysler op­er­a­tion and re­alised there just wasn’t the need for two fac­to­ries in Bri­tain. It chose to keep Rootes’ old HQ at Ry­ton, near Coven­try, go­ing and shut down Lin­wood. The clo­sure in 1981 dev­as­tated an area al­most to­tally de­pen­dent on the ve­hi­cle plant for jobs and re­sulted in mass un­em­ploy­ment. Scot­land’s favourite folk rock group, The Pro­claimers, im­mor­talised the loss of the fac­tory with the line ‘Lin­wood no more’ in their 1987 em­i­gra­tion an­them Let­ter from Amer­ica.

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