10 MAY 1930, Page 17


[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.] SIR,—Mr. Oakley Hill's message seems to divide itself into two parts, the first illustrating Great Britain's backwardness in marketing motor cars, and the second drifting into misleading generalities.

As regards the first I would agree that our selling of motors could be greatly improved,. but I think that makers must be definitely handicapped by our system of motor taxation.

As regards the second, if his Greek friend is an honest trader of good financial reputation, would he "have to find his Way "about England at great trouble, and his French not understood." I think not. Certainly I know of several Birmingham merchants -who would meet him at Dover speak good French to hhn; and conduct him everywhere, giving him every facility to trade.

Mr. Hill implies that the backwardness noted with motors applies to everything else also, and apparently his message is "establish a British Industries Fair (say like Castle Bromwich) and keep it permanently open." Is this a' tall order ? Do Germany, France, or U.S.A. do this ?

The organization suitable for selling motors is not suitable for selling the goods which fill the stores of the foreigner whose orders Britain wants, and I should be surprised if a responsible Greek storekeeper does not receive visits from expert British sellers, knowing the goods they offer, speaking French or Greek, and ready to extend credit where justified. The competition between these British sellers will be sufficient to ensure the storekeeper buying well—if he can pay.

But if the 20s. at which a British seller offers his article includes, say, 3s. which he has to pay for taxes and "social services" over and above what his foreign competitor has to pay for similar services, how can he be expected to succeed Is the trouble inefficient salesmen and methods, or, too high costs, caused by too high a scale of living on the part of all of us. all round ?—I am, Sir, &c.,

41 Clement Street, Birmingham. J. NORMAN HOTCHKISS.