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16 October 2014
Social Change: Employment 1945 to 1979

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The end of the line

Hillman Imp production line.

Hillman Imp production line

From the beginning the Linwood factory faced difficulties. The Imp did not sell as well as had been expected.

During the 1960s and 1970s the UK car industry faced many problems. Poor management led to conflict with the trade unions, a failure to adopt more modern working methods. Lack of vision meant that the models of British companies looked clumsy and old-fashioned compared to the cars of foreign rivals.

Strikes were frequent throughout the 1960s and 1970s, but industrial unrest was at its worst from 1975 to 1978. Strikes led to badly built, unreliable cars that were difficult to sell in the UK or abroad. British car manufacturers faced increasingly tough competition from European, American and Japanese car makers. Remote and isolated from the main centres of car making in England, Linwood's future looked bleak.

The American company Chrysler took over the Linwood factory in 1967. Production of the Imp ceased in 1976 and Chrysler sold the factory to the French company, Peugeot-Citroen in 1979. Peugeot-Citroen closed Linwood in 1981. Car manufacturing in Scotland had come to a sad end.

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