1 NOVEMBER 1963, Page 14

SIR,—Mr. Awbry is not too hard on the motoring correspondents,

but a bit wide in his criticisms of the industry. Some of his points are invalid and there is one drastic omission on the debit side.

In contrasting levels of national output, the German figure, as well as the British, is falsified by inclusion of the output of two wholly owned American subsidiaries, Opel and Ford. Equally, Italian output includes locally built or assembled Rootes and BMC designs. Very few continental factories do not import items like brakes or axles from British firms or British licensees.

The 'minicar' boom in Europe is all but over. Cars below 1,000 c.c. never bulked large in export figures for any country; the cars were for each country's own peasants and, as BMC are finding out, peasants are running short here. The Mini resulted in part from a panic at Suez time and might otherwise never have been, or not in that form. To say Britain came late into the minicar race is to miss the point. BMC and Rootes may come to regret that they ever did.

BMC's Hydrolastic suspension, or some similar device, is the coming thing to equalise and mini- mise tyre-wear and give more neutral handling in any car with a great disproportion in fore and aft weight distribution. With front-drive or rear engines coming for most cars up to two litres (e.g. BMC 1,800 cc. transverse-engined car, say, Motor Show 1964) anything which will relieve the load on the outside tyre at the heavy end of the car on a corner by instantaneously increasing the roll- resistance at the other end is worth its weight in gold. Comfort is nothing to do with it, as BMC have emphasised themselves. The rubber springs on the Mini arc used to cut cost. They were never ex- pected to be' comfortable. They aren't. I had one.

Mr. Awbry's omission is more serious than any of the above errors of emphasis. The reason German and French cars outsell ours, even in British colonial and ex-colonial territories (par- ticularly where the going is tough), is that they, or some of them, are more durable and longer-lasting. My secondhand Volkswagen gives not. a fraction of the trouble I had from a succession of English vehicles (new, or previously owned by someone I knew, in every case).

5 Nelson Street, Dundee