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Thursday, 14 May 1936

Senator LECKIE (Victoria) .- In all these discussions the onus is placed on the Australian manufacturer, rather than on the British manufacturer to whom it rightly belongs. It must be remembered that dies for motor car bodies are costly, running into many thousands of pounds. Agents for British motor cars, who require bodies for a small number of chassis, cannot get them as cheaply as if they were ordering bodies in thousands. In myopinion, the blame for the present unsatisfactory state of affairs lies with the British car manufacturers themselves. There are probably a dozen British cars of practically the same size and shape in Australia, but not one body is interchangeable with another. A little organization on the part of the manufacturers, resulting in slight alterations of their chassis, would enable similar bodies to be fitted to all the different makes of chassis, thereby making it possible for large orders for bodies to be given, with a consequent reduction of their cost. If that were done, the delays which now occur would be avoided, skilled labour would be available to turn out the bodies in thousands, and the cost to the purchaser of British cars would be less. It is impossible for a manufacturer to supply an order for a dozen or twentymotor bodies at the same relative cost, or with the same expedition as he would turn out an order, say, for 1,000. In this instance the British Government should say to its manufacturers, "It is up to you to do a little organization on your own side and help us to help you ". I am familiar with die-making and this class of work. If the British manufacturers combined and made slight alterations of their chassis, for instance, by putting the bolt holes within two or three inches of their p resent positions, interchangeable bodies for the Austin, Singer, Morris, Hillman and other British cars could be made, and the whole of this difficulty overcome. There would not be the slightest difficulty in getting bodies, and, furthermore, they would cost only about two-thirds of the present price.

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