Report the problems at Reliant Cars Ltd.


Date: 19/09/03


The Reliant Car Company was formed in 1935 when a former works manager from Raleigh built the first prototype model. The Reliant’s engine was continually changing because the designer, T.L Williams, was trying out new ones. Eventually the car got its very own engine based on the Austen 7’s engine. Reliant continued to produce their vehicles throughout the Second World War, until 1940 when they had to use the machines to make parts towards the war effort. It took a few years to get Reliant back to producing more vehicles. In 1946 it was producing them and in 1952 Williams decided to change the body work so that the car would accommodate four people instead of 2. In 1962 the body work was changed from the usual aluminium to fibre glass. In 1963 Reliant had Britain’s first flow line production light alloy motor engine. In 1973 the Reliant Robin was introduced and was available as a saloon or estate! The Robin kept being made but occasional changes were made to the engines. In the 1990s Reliant Cars Ltd has been owned by Beans Ltd, Avonex Group and a “consortium of business men”.


The nature of problems experienced so far are that the company has never been able to lose its bad marketing image, the advertising over the years have always been directed to how economical it is. Whilst that was a good ploy during 1930s-1970s in the 1980s the image was more important to the customer because of this the cars weren’t selling as well as the newer small cars such as the Fiat 500.


During the 1970’s Reliant Cars Ltd. was the UK’s second largest car company. The cars were very popular and were the main mini-car company of their time. During the 1990’s the company went bankrupt three times. Then in early 1996 Jonathan Heynes took over the business. Jonathan had had experience in the motor industry previously, as like his father he had worked for many years for Jaguar Cars. When he took Reliant over the factory was not in a good state. Some of the machinery was broken or unusable. Heynes had to find ways of making the machines work or getting them replaced. There were however many Reliant spare parts in stock so he used these to start creating money for the business. In the factory there were nearly 14 finished cars, so Heynes was able to have a head start by finishing these selling them and bringing in immediate sales to the business. There were also prototypes left in the factory of variations of the Robin, including the super truck. When Heynes took over in 1996 he had big plans for the business but knew it would be slow starting up the business again.


So far throughout the history of Reliant Cars Ltd. There have been many problems. In the 1970’s the company was at it’s height but even then there were problems. The Reliant Robin was seen as a dangerous car due to it’s size and unusual construction. Customers could afford to buy more traditional cars that were perceived to be safer and more conventional. Japanese cars such as Toyota and American cars such as Ford were more popular and were manufactured by bigger companies. The competition was too fierce and so in the 1990’s Robin Reliant went bankrupt. The designs weren’t being developed further than the colour being changed on the body work and interior. The target buyer at the time Heynes took over the company were enthusiasts, because the target customer at the time would prefer modern mini cars.


The company has many strengths and weaknesses in the modern day. The strengths are:


o The owner didn’t need a full car driving licence; it is legal to drive a Robin Reliant with a motor bike licence.


o The body being made of fibre glass meant that it wouldn’t rot.


o The car was quirky looking so people who wanted a unique car would buy one and be satisfied.


o The small engine it had meant it was safer than some of the other cars on the market at the time.


o There is a low maintenance and running cost for these