Ashok Leyland is an Indianautomobile manufacturing company headquartered in Chennai, India. Founded in 1948, it is the 2nd largest commercial vehicle manufacturer in India, 4th largest manufacturer of buses in the world and 16th largest manufacturer of trucks globally. Operating six plants, Ashok Leyland also makes spare parts and engines for industrial and marine applications. It sells about 60,000 vehicles and about 7,000 engines annually. It is the second largest commercial vehicle company in India in the medium and heavy commercial vehicle (M&HCV) segment with a market share of 28% (2007–08). With passenger transportation options ranging from 19 seaters to 80 seaters, Ashok Leyland is a market leader in the bus segment. The company claims to carry more than 60 million passengers a day, more people than the entire Indian rail network. In the trucks segment Ashok Leyland primarily concentrates on the 16 ton to 25 ton range of trucks. However Ashok Leyland has presence in the entire truck range starting from 7.5 tons to 49 tons. With a joint venture with Nissan Motors of Japan the company made its presence in the Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) segment (<7.5 tons).


A brief history of Leyland Motors, its predecessors and successors

Lancashire Steam Motor Company - 1896

The origin of truck-building in Leyland can be traced back to two men – James Sumner and Henry Spurrier, who together formed ‘The Lancashire Steam Motor Company’ in 1896 to exploit their original product, a 1.5 tonne capacity steam van. The two friends could not have foreseen the incredible success story which would give the town world-wide recognition and leave a legacy which would be passed down through generations of Leylanders.

The following year the steam van was taken to Manchester for the Royal Agricultural Society of England trials for self-propelled vehicles. The ‘prototype Leyland’ carried all before it, winning the top prize of a silver medal. Their company built on its success in its early years with bigger and better trucks, including the first steam bus model and the first ever export order for a steam mail van for Ceylon, now known as Sri Lanka.


1896 Leyland Steam Van

The first Petrol Engine - 1900's

Their first petrol-engined vehicle, nicknamed ‘the Pig’, was produced in 1904, followed a year later by the supply of the first Leyland bus for service in London. In 1907 the company absorbed the steam wagon builder Coulthards of Preston, adopting the name of Leyland Motors Limited later in the year. To accommodate manufacture of the expanding range the factory grew physically with the continued expansion of North Works.

1912 was a year which was to open up the military market for Leyland as their 3-tonner, commonly known as the ‘RAF-type’, was to become the standard subsidy vehicle. The following year saw the start of work on the Farington plant, later associated with bus production. By the outbreak of war in 1914 the company had 1500 employees and had produced approximately 1275 petrol engined vehicles and 415 steam wagons.

The First World War had a profound effect on Leyland Motors and the company concentrated on building 5,932 vehicles for the British forces. At the height of the war Leyland was employing over 3000 people. North Works and Farington had expanded, South Works had come into existence as had a factory in Chorley and a steel works with its own power plant was built.

After the war Leyland acquired the Kingston-upon-Thames former aircraft factory. This was put to work reconditioning 3000 ex-WD RAF-type Leylands which the company had bought to stop ‘worn-out’ ex-military vehicles entering ‘civvy street’ and tarnishing Leyland’s reputation for quality. When this work was nearing completion the Kingston factory was dedicated to the production of the novel Trojan car and van. Later still, Kingston was used for the production of the ‘Cub’ goods and passenger vehicle range.

1907 Leyland X type

The Leyland Zoo – 1920’s

With the late 1920s came some legendary Leyland models which put the company at the forefront of bus and truck design, starting the “Leyland Zoo” with animal names for Leyland models such as the ‘Lion’, ‘Lioness’, ‘Llama’, ‘Leveret’, ‘Tiger’, ‘Terrier’, ‘Badger’, ‘Beaver’, ‘Bull’, ‘Bison’ and ‘Buffalo’ along with the non-animal ‘Leviathon’, ‘Titan’ and ‘Titanic’ which brought the company back to prosperity after the crisis of the early 1920s. Names such as these would be synonymous with Leyland for nearly sixty years until the T45 range swept them away.

1920 Leyland Badger

Introduction of Diesel Engines – 1930’s

The 1930s continued the development of this well received range as ‘Hippo’, ‘Rhino’, ‘Octopus’ and 'Buffalo' were added to the ‘heavy’ range of vehicles and the ‘lightweight’ ‘Cub’ replaced the Trojan as the Kingston built product. Trolleybuses and Chorley built fire-engines also became well established in the line-up of products. A leap forward during this period was the introduction of Leyland’s own compression ignition engine (diesel), after which the days of the petrol engine were numbered in civilian use Leyland vehicles.

A ‘secret’ factory to build tanks was finished just as the Second World War began, but it was no secret to German bombers who continuously targeted the site in the early years of the war. Wartime output was varied as 11,000 employees produced 9,000 wheeled vehicles, 3,000 tanks, 10,000 tank engines and a large quantity of munitions.

The end of the war saw Leyland poised to expand as they supplied vehicles during a period many enthusiasts consider to be a ‘Golden Age’ of road transport. The new optimism was exemplified by the new Comet truck and bus range, the rest of the range was not neglected as the pre-war models were superseded by modern designs, though continuing the ‘family’ names.

1930 Leyland Octopus

1931 Leyland Buffalo

Leyland Motors Expands - 1950’s

The 1950s saw a massive expansion of Leyland Motors as the famous UK makes of Scammell Lorries and Albion Motors were acquired, and the company became a major supplier to international markets. However, the most notable changes for the user of Leylands were the introduction of the ‘Vista-Vue’, or LAD, cab to the truck range, and the debut of the revolutionary ‘Atlantean’ double deck bus in 1958. Of the two the Atlantean has had more impact as can be appreciated by the fact that buses of basically similar design have been the standard up to the present day.

1950 Leyland Octopus

The Ergonomic Cab – 1960’s

Leyland were to make another significant contribution to British truck design when they launched their new ‘Ergomatic’ cab in 1964 as a replacement for the comparatively short-lived ‘Vista-Vue’ cab. The ‘Ergomatic’ cab was designed to give the best combination of driver comfort, safety and efficient use of space possible within its intended price bracket. Its most notable feature was its ability to ‘tilt’ forward thereby exposing the engine, giving better access than the previous fixed cab designs. So good was this cab that it was still being fitted in mildly updated form to some Leyland chassis as late as 1981.

1960 Leyland Super Comet

New beginnings – 1980’s

Overall, the 1970s were a challenging period for Leyland although at the end of the decade the new T45 range was announced. These models had been subject to a thorough design and testing programme and were rewarded by winning the ‘Truck of the Year’ award.
As the T45 was brought to the market, a new £33 million assembly plant opened on the outskirts of Leyland to produce the new model, which is now the home of the current day Leyland Trucks.

1980 Leyland T-Range

Leyland Merges with DAF - 1987

The truck operation had been drastically rationalised by early 1980s and the bus and truck sides were separated ready for their sell off in 1987 when Leyland Trucks was merged with DAF of the Netherlands to form Leyland DAF, with the Dutch holding the majority stake and exercising the day-to-day management control. A management buyout made the bus division independent for a short period before it was sold to Volvo, who integrated Leyland models into their range before gradually replacing them with Volvos as they aged.

DAF NV, as the new company was called, continued to develop, but in the late 1980s and early 90s the UK market plummeted to levels of sales not seen since wartime. As the UK was DAF’s largest market, repercussions were inevitable, as were the consequences when the continental markets followed in the UK in 1992.
Despite efforts to save the company, receivers were called in on 2nd February 1993.

A new DAF heavy truck business restarted in Holland and Belgium within a month, but it was a management buyout at Leyland Trucks in June 1993 that proved the salvation of truck-building in the town. A new arrangement with DAF established that Leyland Trucks sells to the UK and European markets through ‘new DAF’.
In 1996 PACCAR acquired DAF and in 1998 Leyland Trucks. The period since 1998 has seen substantial growth in volumes and profit, and significant investment in product, facilities and people. The scene for continued success for Leyland Trucks is well set.

 Leyland Trucks operates from one of Europe’s most advanced truck assembly facilities, the Leyland Assembly Plant. The company, employing 800 people, manufactures the full range of DAF product, of which approximately 50% is exported to all European Union markets and the wider world. The Company’s future development is focused on the use of leading edge applications of information technology in all aspects of truck design, manufacture, procurement and logistics

Leyland Trucks Ltd


Leyland Trucks is one of Britain’s leading manufacturing companies. It is PACCAR’s established centre for light and medium duty truck design, development and manufacture. Now one of the jewels in the crown of PACCAR production locations around the world, it is regularly praised for its efficiency, safety and cleanliness in both internal and external benchmarking exercises.

In order to ensure continued energy conservation at Leyland Trucks an Energy Management Team was set up in 1994. The main objectives of this team are to ensure energy is used efficiently, energy waste is minimised and that the best energy conservation practices are used. These objectives have the ultimate aim of protecting the environment by ensuring the minimum amount of energy is supplied to the site.


Energy Efficiency

Through detailed measurement of each utility (electricity, gas, compressed air and water) on a weekly basis, the Energy Management Team gains a detailed picture of Leyland Trucks’ energy needs. From this, the team is able to identify a plan of technical improvements that can then be applied to reduce the site’s energy usage. Specific examples of energy saving measures already implemented by the team include:

Energy saving light bulbs used throughout the plant.

Intelligent lighting used in the production facilities that control the amount of lighting needed at different times of the working day and ensuring lighting is not left on at inappropriate times.
All washroom facilities on site use automatic taps and reduced flush toilets to control the amount of water used by these processes.
All loading bay doors are fully automated to reduce heat loss from the plant.
Energy efficiency is an important factor in the selection of new equipment for use within the company. HVAC control system upgraded to operate systems and control zones only when needed.

Leyland Trucks is also actively investigating the opportunities for sourcing alternative energies such as wind and solar power, biomass and energy from waste.

Leyland Trucks a PACCAR Company

Leyland Trucks is one of PACCAR's global group of businesses and is one of Britain’s leading manufacturing companies. It is PACCAR’s established centre for light and medium duty truck design, development and manufacture.


PACCAR is a global technology leader in the design, manufacture and customer support of high-quality light-, medium- and heavy-duty trucks under the Kenworth, Peterbilt and DAF nameplates. PACCAR also designs and manufactures advanced diesel engines, provides financial services and information technology, and distributes truck parts related to its principal business.

Leyland’s highly efficient 710,000-square-foot manufacturing facility features a technologically advanced production system which incorporates electronic work instructions (EWI) to deliver engineering designs, build instructions and quality records to employees by interactive touch screens. Leyland builds the full DAF product range (LF, CF and XF models) for right and left-hand drive markets. The site is also the UK home of the successful PACCAR Parts business, who special in aftersales support and spares distribution across the UK and Europe.

Leyland has expanded its global medium-duty presence and in addition to assembly at Leyland, sells the LF and CF in kit form to many parts of the globe. Additionally, Leyland offers in-house design and manufacture of high quality truck bodies.

Employees are at the heart of Leyland’s success and a ‘one-team’ ethos exists across all parts of the business. Employees at all levels of the organisation are actively encouraged to achieve their full potential through active career development and support. Leyland is also has a strong social conscience and works with local education and charitable organisations over many years to give back to the local community.

Leyland Motors

James Sumner (1860-1924) The founder of what eventually became Leyland Motors in Leyland, Lancashire. James was born in 1860 in Leyland and enjoyed building steam powered engines for vehicles and bicycles. His father ran a blacksmith in Leyland which James inherited in 1892. He wasn't keen on the blacksmith business and he created a steam lawnmower which secured a first prize and silver medal at the Royal Lancashire Agricultural Show. James Sumner died in 1924.


March 1949. Mr. Henry Spurrier (1898–1964). Became interested when his brother, George, obtained a share of the original company. The Spurriers came from the Manchester area. J.Sumner Ltd was the initial name in 1895 and was formed when a Preston company, Coulthard & Co, purchased a half share. A 3 wheel car was built with a lawn-mower engine as the main business was then lawn-mowers. George Spurrier later received Coulthard's share. Henry Spurrier , his brother, took an immediate interest in the company and joined with James Sumner. Henry Spurrier had spent eight years with an American railway company and had gained valuable experience in the use of steam power.


Lord Stokes of Leyland Donald Stokes took over as head of the company in 1964 and in 1968 it merged with British Motor Holdings (BMH) to form the British Leyland Motor Corporation (BLMC). BMH brought with it more famous British goods vehicle and bus and coach marques, including Daimler, Guy, BMC, Austin and Morris into the new organization.

James Sumner produced a steam wagon in 1884, this was the first of his many inventions including a steam driven lawn mower and, later, a three wheeled motor car. J Sumner and Company was formed and George Spurrier later bought into the Company and in 1896 Spurrier and Sumner formed the Lancashire Steam Motor Company, in Leyland, Lancashire. In 1907 they changed the name of the Company to Leyland Motors Limited. Steam power dominated production in the early years, though an internal engine vehicle was produced in 1904. The last Steam powered vehicle was produced in 1926. Truck models in the 1930s included the Octopus, Beaver, Bison, Buffalo, Bull and Hippo. Leyland continued to grow and take over other truck Companies including Albion Motors in 1951, Scammell Lorries in 1955, AEC in 1969. Leyland was nationalized in 1975 and then sold to DAF in 1987.
Leyland Motors Limited was a British vehicle manufacturer of lorries, buses and trolleybuses. It gave its name to the
British Leyland Motor Corporation formed when it merged with British Motor Holdings, later to become British Leyland after being nationalised. British Leyland later changed its name to simply BL, then in 1986 Rover Group.

Leyland Motors has a long history dating from 1896, when the Sumner and
Spurrier families founded the Lancashire Steam Motor Company in the town of Leyland in North West England. Their first products included steam lawn mowers. The company's first vehicle was a 1.5-ton-capacity steam powered van. This was followed by a number of undertype steam wagons using a vertical fire-tube boiler. By 1905 they had also begun to build petrol-engined wagons. The Lancashire Steam Motor Company was renamed Leyland Motors in 1907 when they took over Coulthards of Preston. They also built a second factory in the neighbouring town of Chorley which still remains today as the headquarters of the LEX leasing and parts company.
In 1920 Leyland Motors produced the Leyland 8 luxury touring car, a development of which was driven by J.G. Parry-Thomas at Brooklands. Parry-Thomas was later killed in an attempt on the land speed record when a chain drive broke. At the other extreme, they also produced the Trojan Utility Car in the Kingston upon Thames factory from 1922 to 1928.
Three generations of Spurriers controlled Leyland Motors from its foundation until the retirement of Sir Henry Spurrier in 1964. Sir Henry inherited control of Leyland Motors from his father in 1942, and successfully guided its growth during the postwar years. Whilst the Spurrier family were in control the company enjoyed excellent labour relations—reputedly never losing a day's production through industrial action.
During the war, Leyland Motors along with most vehicle manufacturers was involved in war production. Leyland built the Cromwell tank at its works from 1943 as well as medium/large trucks such as the Leyland Hippo and Retriever.
After the war, Leyland Motors continued military manufacture with the Centurion tank.
In 1946,
AEC and Leyland Motors worked to form the British United Traction Ltd.
In 1955, through an equity agreement, manufacture of commercial vehicles under licence from Leyland Motors commenced in Madras, India at the new Ashok factory. The products were branded as
Ashok Leyland.


On the other hand, Leyland Motors acquired other companies in the post war years:

• 1951:
Albion Motors
• 1953: Collaboration with Danish Automobile Building (DAB), a bus manufacturer, later with a majority stake in the 1970s
• 1955:
Scammell Lorries Ltd—military and specialist lorry manufacturer
• 1960: Standard Triumph, cars, vans and some agricultural machinery interests
• 1962: Associated Commercial Vehicles (ACV), which incorporated
AEC , Thornycroft , Park Royal Vehicles and Charles H. Roe. Then Leyland Motors was renamed Leyland Motor Corporation
• 1965: Minority (25%) interests in Bristol Commercial Vehicles and Eastern Coach Works
• 1967: Rover cars

Donald Stokes
took over as head of the company in 1964 and in 1968 it merged with
British Motor Holdings (BMH) to form the British Leyland Motor Corporation (BLMC). BMH brought with it more famous British goods vehicle and bus and coach marques, including Daimler Guy, BMC, Austin and Morris into the new organization.
The BLMC group was difficult to manage because of the many companies under its control, often making similar products. This, and other reasons, led to financial difficulties and in December 1974 British Leyland had to receive a guarantee from the British government.
In 1975, after the publication of the Ryder Report, BLMC nationalised as British Leyland (BL) and split into 4 divisions with the bus and truck production becoming the Leyland Truck & Bus division within the Land Rover Leyland Group. This division was split into Leyland Bus and Leyland Trucks in 1981. In 1986 BL changed its name to Rover Group. The equity stake in
Ashok Leyland was controlled by Land Rover Leyland International Holdings, and sold in 1987.
The bus operations were divested as a management buy-out to form Leyland Bus, and was subsequently bought by Volvo Buses in 1988, which discontinued most of its product range.
1987 The Leyland Trucks division of Rover Group (formerly BL) merged with
DAF Trucks of The Netherlands, and was floated on the Dutch stock exchange as DAF NV. The new company traded as Leyland DAF in the UK, and as DAF elsewhere.
DAF NV went into bankruptcy. The UK truck division was bought through a management buy-out and became Leyland Trucks. The van division was also bought through a management buy-out and became LDV Limited. The Spare Parts Operation (Multipart) was also subject to a management buy-out before eventually becoming part of the LEX organisation.
1998 Leyland Trucks was acquired by the US truck manufacturer
PACCAR (Pacific Car )

Pacific Car built included the M25 Tank Transporter, known as the Dragon Wagon . In 1945 Pacific Car purchased the Kenworth Motor Truck Corporation (Kenworth manufactured T10 transporter in 1953) which was named after the stockholders Harry Kent and Edgar Worthington. In 1956 Kenworth lost independent status and became a division directly under Pacific Car and Foundry. In 1954, Pacific Car acquired the Dart Truck Company of Kansas City, Missouri, and the Peterbilt Motors Company, of Oakland, California. Dart built primarily heavy off-highway dump trucks and specialty vehicles. Peterbilt had been a major competitor with Kenworth, producing many kinds of trucks and buses. Peterbilt operated as Pacific Car’s wholly owned subsidiary till 1960 following which it was dissolved and made a division of Pacific Car and Foundry.

Leyland Trucks now operates as a division of PACCAR from the Leyland Assembly Plant in North West England manufacturing around 14,000 trucks per year of which about a third are sold in the EU, though not with the name Leyland.
The Leyland name and logo continues as a recognised and respected marque across India, the wider subcontinent and parts of Africa in the form of
Ashok Leyland . Part of the giant Hinduja Group, Ashok Leyland manufactures buses, trucks, defence vehicles and engines. The company is a leader in the heavy transportation sector within India and has an aggressive expansionary policy. Ironically, since 1987, when the London-based Hinduja Group bought the Indian-based Ashok Leyland company, it is once again a British-owned brand. Today, Ashok-Leyland is pursuing a joint venture with Nissan and through its acquisition of the Czech truck maker, Avia , is entering the European truck market directly. With its purchase of a 26% stake in UK-based bus manufacturer Optare in 2010, Ashok Leyland has taken a step closer to reconnecting with its British heritage, as Optare is a direct descendant of Leyland's UK bus-making division. On Dec21, Ashok Leyland has bought additional 49% stake in Optare totaling 75%.
Historically, Leyland Motors was a major manufacturer of buses used in the United Kingdom and worldwide. It achieved a number of firsts or milestones that set trends for the bus industry. It was one of the first manufacturers to devise chassis designs for buses that were different from trucks with a lower chassis level to help passengers to board. Its chief designer John George Rackham, who had experience at the Yellow Coach Company in Chicago before returning to England, created the Titan and Tiger ranges in 1927 that revolutionised bus design. After 1945, it created another milestone with the trend-setting Atlantean rear-engined double-decker bus design produced between 1956 and 1986.
The Marathon was Leyland's answer to the booming "max cap" truck fad at the start of the 1970s. Imports such as the Volvo F88 and Scania 110/140 were selling very well in the UK thanks to the previously unheard of levels of driver comfort, reliability, quality and performance.
Leyland had insufficient money for development of a complete new vehicle at the time, so designers were instructed to utilise as many existing in-house components as possible. It was perceived at the time that the resulting model would be a stopgap until the new T45 range was ready for production toward the latter half of the 1970s.
The cab was a re-worked version of the "Ergomatic" tilt cab of 1965, heavily modified with different lower panels, raised height etc., and was available in day and sleeper cab form. Engines were decided from the outset to be in the higher power category to be competitive with rival vehicles, the only existing engine within the Leyland empire suitable for such an application following the demise of the ill-fated fixed-head 500 series and AEC's underdeveloped and unreliable V8 was the AEC AV760 straight-six, which was turbocharged and designated the TL12. Other engine options included a 200 bhp Leyland L11, Cummins 10 and 14 litre engines at 250/330 bhp.
Production began in 1973, and various shortcomings were noted, including below par heating and ventilation, and pronounced cab roll. however roadtesters of the time were very impressed by the truck's power and performance. In 1977 the
"Marathon 2" was launched, an updated and revised vehicle that attempted to address some of the previous criticisms of the earlier vehicle. Relatively few Marathons of all types were sold before production ended in 1979 with the introduction of the T45 "roadtrain" range of vehicles.
This was Leyland's answer to the Ford cargo in the non-HGV 7.5-ton truck sector. Launched in 1984, it utilised a Leyland straight-six engine until 1986 when a 5.9L Cummins was introduced. It was notable at the time for its low level passenger side windscreen, featured as a safety aid to enable the driver to see the kerb, although this was deleted on later models. The basic cab had a long service life, becoming later on the Leyland DAF 45.
Leyland Roadtrain was a range of heavy goods vehicle tractor units manufactured by Leyland Trucks between 1980 and 1990. The nomenclature "T45" refers to the truck range design as a whole and encompasses models such as the lightweight 7.5-ton roadrunner, Freighter (4 wheel rigid truck) constructor (multi axle rigid tipper or mixer chassis-its chassis owing much to the outgoing Scammell 8-wheeler Handyman) and Cruiser (basic spec low weight tractor unit). The Roadtrain itself was a max weight model with distance work in mind.
The cab design was a joint effort between Leyland, BRS and
Ogle Design and was seen as the height of modernity when compared with its predecessors, the idea being to have one basic design to replace the various outgoing models (for example, the Bathgate built G cab on the Terrier, the Ergomatic cabbed Lynx, Beaver etc.). This did indeed make good economic sense, however there has been speculation that Leyland did in fact alienate a number of customers who had traditionally purchased other marques from within the Leyland empire—Albion, AEC, Scammell, etc.—who were now left with no alternative but to have a Leyland branded vehicle or purchase from elsewhere.
Throughout its production run engine choices included the AEC-based TL12, a straight carry over from the preceding "stopgap" model Marathon range, The Rolls-Royce Eagle 265/300 and the Cummins 290 L10 and 14-litre 350 coupled to a Spicer or Eaton transmission, although all versions produced a distinctive whine from the propshaft knuckle joint when approaching 60 mph (97 km/h). The TL12 engine was dropped early on in the production run, most large fleet buyers choosing the Rolls-Royce engine.
Roadtrain was available in day and sleeper cabbed form, in high and low datum versions—this refers to the cab height—high datum versions were intended as long haul vehicles with higher mounted cabs and more internal space. 6x2 versions were built in high cab form only on a chassis that was basically that of the ageing Scammell trunker.

In 1986 the high roofed
Roadtrain interstate was introduced, a top of the range long distance truck with standing room inside.
Roadtrain was a common sight throughout most of the 1980s, with a great many of the major fleet users in the UK such as Tesco, Blue Circle (unusually with high datum day cabs) and BRS running them. The Firm of Swain's based at Rochester in Kent had a number of roadtrains in its fleet which enjoyed a comparatively long service life (up until the late 1990s) before being replaced by the newer DAF 85.
Production ended in 1990 with the sale of Leyland Trucks to Dutch firm DAF, although as a postscript DAF relaunched the model in low datum form (it was already manufacturing the large DAF 95) as the DAF 80, using the Roadtrain cab with the DAF 330 ATi engine (quite ironic, given that this engine had its roots in the Leyland O.680). This model was produced for a relatively short time until 1993 with the launch of the brand new cabbed DAF 85.
Due partly to the cab's propensity to rust and also to the admittedly short life of commercial vehicles, any Roadtrain in commercial operation is now a very rare sight indeed, although a small number of vehicle remain in use throughout the country as recovery vehicles.
The army made use of an 8x6 version of Roadtrain as a hook loader until recently. This is known to the British Army as DROPPS, Demountable rack offload and pickup system which has seen action Iraq and Afghanistan and are still in service, due to be replaced by MAN version.
The Rover Group plc was the name given in 1986 to the British state-owned vehicle manufacturer previously known as British Leyland or BL. Owned by British Aerospace from 1988 to 1994, when it was sold to BMW, the Group was broken up in 2000 with the Rover and MG marques being acquired by the MG Rover Group.

• 1986: BL plc renamed as The Rover Group plc
• 1986: Rover SD1 production ceases after 10 years and the car is replaced by a new model called the Rover 800 - the result of a joint venture with Honda which led to the manufacture of the Rover 800 and the Honda Legend.
• 1987: The Leyland Trucks division (which by then included Freight Rover Vans) merged with DAF and then floated. (Note: After being declared bankrupt in 1993 the new DAF NV company split into three independent companies; the UK van operation became LDV, the Dutch operation resumed trading as DAF Trucks and the UK truck operation resumed trading as Leyland Trucks. Both truck operations were later acquired by PACCAR of the USA.)
• 1987: Leyland Bus floated off; bought by Volvo Buses in 1988
• 1987: Unipart spare parts division sold off via management buyout
• 1988: Rover Group privatised; sold to British Aerospace
• 1989: The new Rover 200 goes on sale, abandoning the four-door saloon bodystyle in favour of a three- and five-door hatchback. It is also sold as the Honda Concerto. Maestro and Montego production is scaled down as a result.
• 1990: The Rover 400 - saloon version of the Rover 200 - goes on sale. Also going into production is the heavily updated Metro, which features modernised body styling, a reworked interior and a new range of engines.
• 1991: The Rover 800 receives a major facelift.
• 1992: Convertible and Coupe versions of the Rover 200 are launched.
• 1993: The Rover 600 is launched, based on the Honda Accord but re-styled and using a mixture of Honda and Rover's own engines.
• 1994: 31 January - British Aerospace announces the sale of its 80% majority share of Rover Group to BMW.
• 1994: 21 February - Honda announces it is selling its 20% share of Rover Group causing major problems in Rover's supply chain which was reliant on Honda.
• 1994: An estate version of the Rover 400 is launched, along with an updated Metro which sees the 14-year-old nameplate shelved and rebadged as the Rover 100. Maestro and Montego production also ends.
• 1995: New versions of the Rover 200 and Rover 400 go on sale, though this time they are entirely different cars. The Rover 400 is a reworked, upmarket version of the latest Honda Civic, despite the Rover-Honda collaboration finishing a year earlier. The new MG F goes on sale, bringing back the MG badge on a mass-production sports car for the first time since 1980.
• 1998: The Rover 75 goes on sale as a successor to both the Rover 600 and Rover 800.
• 1999: The Rover 200 and Rover 400 are facelifted to be re-badged as the Rover 25 and Rover 45 respectively.
• 2000: Land Rover sold by BMW to Ford
• 2000: The new MINI launched by BMW, produced at the Cowley assembly plant.
• 2000: Remainder of company sold to the Phoenix Consortium for a nominal ?10 and becomes the MG Rover Group


In 1957, Brown and Hurley switched its business and took on the Leyland agency for the Northern Rivers region and soon after, they obtained a contract to assemble Leyland Super Hippo trucks. Brown and Hurley were to sell 485 Leyland trucks before they swapped the agency for Volvo. It was the first dealer ship in Australia to do so, and still does, through their Kyogle, Townsville and Coffs Harbour branches.
Another milestone was reached in 1963 when Brown and Hurley was contracted to sell American
Kenworth trucks in Queensland . Priced at around 13,000doll they were by no means a cheap truck, but sturdy construction and reliability soon had it well accepted by the logging industry. Kenworths are now seen in every sector of the road transport industry and there is no doubt that the hard work and commitment of Brown and Hurley have contributed to this. Their 2000th Kenworth was sold in 1995.
Top of the Leyland range in Australia was the Mastiff 12-tonne truck powered by a 180-hp Perkins 8-cylinder diesel engine. Top speed was around 85 km/h. The Leyland Hippos, Super Hippos and Buffaloes were also very popular trucks, as were the four-tonne Terriers and the Boxers, Reivers and
Super Comets of the small to medium range. One feature about the Leyland range that appealed to larger operators was that the cabs, including the instrumentation, were completely interchangeable with all other Leyland models.
The mid 1960s saw over 35 independent heavy truck manufacturers marketing their product in Australia and American and British marques fought severely for dominance. Today, less than 10 of those producers remain active in Australia. This trend started in the early l950s when the giant Leyland Motors organisation acquired many of its smaller competitors, including
Morris Albion, Scammell and AEC before later adding Thornycroft, Guy, Austin and Morris to its impressive list of acquisitions and changing its name to the British Leyland Motor Corporation in 1968.
Then we move to the next thing of particular note about Leyland Motors Ltd, which was their decision during the 1920’s to assign their subsequent models animal names, and as would be obvious, these became known as the “Zoo Series”, and the first two named were the Badger, and the Beaver. Obviously, the name assigned to particular models matched their size or capabilities.
The Octopus
Octopus was their twin steering 4-axled (8-wheeled) version, whereas the Hippo was their prime mover, with the Rhino as the 3-axled version.
Actually the Rhino was the first model in which Leyland tried a diesel engine in 1925.
Some other members of their menagerie were: Bison, Buffalo, Bull, Bear, Steer, Lynx, and Cub.
Two odd ones were a
6 x 6 Martian, and the Standard Atlas (from the 1961 Standard-Triumph takeover).
Later, getting away from the Zoo, in 1947 there came the Comet, and the Super Comet, and curiously both names were re-allocated to current models in 1987.
Then finally around 1960 there appears to have been a change of tack, and subsequent truck models were named after dogs, and for us P76 people, the best example is the Leyland Terrier, into which many of the surplus P76 V8 motors were installed after the cessation of P76 manufacture. This was actually the second series of Terrier trucks: the first had appeared 40 years earlier. Others were the Boxer; Reiver; Mastiff, and Retriever.
The single-decked Leyland bus models were named after big cats, viz Cheetah, Tiger (+Royal Tiger & Tiger Cub) Leopard and Panther, but the double-deckers were another story, with names like Worldmaster, Titan, Olympic, Fleetmaster and Atlantean. Sydney at one stage had a large fleet of Atlanteans.
Whilst the trucks had plain badging, the buses, particularly the cat series, boasted quite detailed, striking and colourful enamel depictions of each animal on their radiators or front aprons. It is not known when Leyland moved from the quite austere ” on the upper radiator tank, to the elegant scrolled version depicted here.
And here we must try to get away from our car-oriented thinking, where the next year’s model or version brings with it another name. With trucks in general, and Leyland in particular, these models, or more accurately type names, particularly those of the Zoo series, continued to be made over a considerable number of years.
Please note that the order in which I have listed the truck and bus model names is random only.
Another way in which Leyland Motors attracted attention to themselves (deliberately!) was their clocks.
In a rather clever advertising ploy, Leyland obtained permission to erect mostly free-standing railway station-type clocks large enough for motorists to read at strategic spots along England’s main roads. Apart from other considerations, this was quite a service to motorists who usually didn’t have clocks on their dash, as is the case today. To remind them of whom they had to thank for this, each clock had “Leyland Motors” in large lettering across the face. One can imagine how their competitors squirmed as they passed these clocks!
And so we move to the present: what remains?
Firstly there is the Leyland Motors Brass Band, founded in 1946, and still performing quite successfully. Works brass bands were very common across British industry, and were encouraged by the owners of the works concerned, because they believed it represented a form of leisure for their workers.
Secondly, there is the old Leyland works site of 100 acres. This has been partly transformed into a museum by the town of Leyland.

And finally, the Leyland Truck business of today is owned by Paccar Inc of Seattle, U.S.A., makers of Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks, who bought the factory and the name from DAF . Some useless information is that Paccar is a contraction of Pacific Car & Foundry. DAF was a Dutch truck manufacturing firm who took over Leyland Trucks in the wash-up of the British Leyland debacle in the UK. This was quite logical, given that DAF had been building Leyland trucks under licence since 1956, and had been using Leyland engines in their own vehicles since 1953.

Finally Paccar Inc purchased Leyland-DAF Trucks, and continue to make them, minus the DAF name.


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