Vauxhall's Contribution to Jubilee Year
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nURING the war period the works of L./ Vauxhall Motors, Ltd., at Luton were sealed from the public gaze. Here, and at other factories which it parented, were being made highly specialized war products in their thousands, not only vehicles, but the famous Churchill tank to the total of over 5,600. also venturi tubes for rockets, small armour-piercing shells and Jerricans by the million.
The company's showrooms were blacked-out and used as additional office space, an overflow canteen, and even a branch post office. Now all this has been cleared, and a most interesting exhibition, which forms part of the company's contribution to the Jubilee year of the motor industry, has been staged there.
On the ground floor are vehicles, whilst above the visitor is taken around a marked-out route, every foot of which, at each side, is devoted to models, illustrations, specimens of parts, special testing rigs, and jigs, each section being in the charge of an expert and the whole artistically decorated and arranged. We shall devote more space next week to the actual exhibits. A representative of the Minister of Supply, Mr. Woodburn, said that in the history of the industry the Vauxhall Co. bolds an honoured place. In one form or another, it has been in existence for nearly 90 years, whilst its first motor vehicle was built in 1903. It came to Luton in 1905, and now the factory occupies an area of 130 acres, including 60 of covered factory space, and it directly employs no fewer than 11,000 people. The company was the largest producer in this country of W.D. trucks, having built 250,000 during the war years.
In the task of raising the standard of living of the ordinary people, the motor industry can, and should, play an important part, continued Mr. Woodburn. This can be achieved by massproduction and concentration on a few models. Effort along these two lines reduces costs and, consequently, prices. to the minimum. It is the Government's policy to encourage technical research and development by individual concerns, said Mr. Woodburn, and the Vauxhall concern is doing a great deal in these directions.
Mr. Woodburn followed the lead of his Minister in expressing the view that only hard work and additional production could improve living conditions. He added that if all the money earned or received by people with £2,000 a year or more were to be distributed amongst the workers, it would amount to very little each; it would represent only about Is. per day.
In the absence of Sir Charles Bartlett, the reply was made by Mr. A. W. Laskey, assistant managing director. He mentioned that this was Vauxhall': 43rd anniversary as a manufacturer of motor vehicles. To-day, be said, the company's products were available to fifty-fold more users than in the past, whilst the employees, working much shorter hours and .five days a week, took home far fatter wage packets.
Workers and management had mutually cultivated a team spirit, which, he believed, was the company's finest asset. With this spirit, backed. he trusted, by an enlightened altitude towards motor-vehicle taxation on the part of the Government, the company would show greater advancements.