Leyland's MIRA takeover vetoed
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by a CM reporter
• An attempt by British Leyland to acquire the proving ground facilities of the Motor Industry Research Association appeared to have been finally vetoed following a MIRA council meeting last week. MIRA's comprehensive proving ground near Nuneaton, Warks. — used on a joint basis by all Britain's motor manufacturers — is where many of CM's road test results are obtained.
British Leyland is the only major British manufacturer not to have its own proving ground. Paradoxically it is the likelihood of the American-owned companies getting more Government contracts that can only be worked on at MIRA that is forcing Leyland's hand. Facilities there are already overcrowded. Though a BLMC spokesman emphatically denied to CM this week that any cash bid had been made, it is thought that BLMC has now decided to develop its own proving ground at a probable cost of £5m plus. To have obtained control of the jointly run MIRA Leyland needed the agreement of 85 per cent of the members. Clearly, this was not forthcoming and is unlikely to be so.
BLMC already has a small test track at Leyland, Lanes, used by truck and bus division products, but this is not capable of enlargement. There will obviously be major problems in finding another site convenient to both northern plants and the Midlands factories.