HC Deb 23 March 1970 vol 798 c950
5. Mr. Gwilym Roberts

asked the Minister of Technology if he will take steps to set up a national research and development organisation for the car industry aimed at reducing unit cost of car production by co-ordinating technological expertise, standardising parts between manufacturers and reducing unnecessary duplication of similar models; and if he will make a statement.

Dr. Ernest A. Davies

A good deal of collaborative research for this industry is carried out by the Motor Industry Research Association to which the Department makes a financial contribution. As manufacturers prefer to design their cars to meet market demand there is no need for further action.

Mr. Roberts

Does my hon. Friend accept that there are still too many similar models being produced, and that if parts from one manufacturer could be substituted for others this would greatly help our exports? Further, since we are still a long way away from the British car as such, would he not accept that any steps taken in this direction would be helpful to the industry?

Dr. Davies

On the second point, the fact that we import up to 10 per cent. of consumption on the home market indicates that the motorist requires this kind of variation in model type. I believe this would be true of the foreign market also. Secondly, the number of models produced by any manufacturer will in the end be determined by the market found by the manufacturer.