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Former Manufacturing Director Of British Leyland's Longbridge Factory, Tony Gilroy, Has Died At The Age Of 85

Tony Gilroy: Former manufacturing director at British Leyland's factory in Longbridge and credited with saving Land Rover and Rover car brands in the late 1980's, has died at the age of 85.

Though he was overshadowed by the likes of the former South African chairman of British Leyland Sir Michael Edwardes (1930-2019) and Austin-Rover chairman Harold Musgrove who popularized the Rover SD1 and Austin Maestro/Montego in the mid 1980's.

Gilroy demonstrated a detailed knowledge of every aspect of the business, identifying key issues and solving them.

In 1983 he was made head of the Land Rover division, which sold 73% of it's cars to the Apartheid Government in South Africa, a big controversy for the brand.

When former prime minister Margaret Thatcher wished to sell Land Rover and Rover in 1986 to GM, Gilroy launched the “Keep Land Rover/Rover British Campaign” which lobbied the government to sell Land Rover and Rover to a British company.

He succeeded in that the Land Rover and Rover brands would be sold to British Aerospace, on the strict understanding that neither could be sold on again for 5 years.

A former Land Rover employee stated: “If you had done your homework, you were ok.

If not, you were dead.

It was true that Gilroy had zero tolerance for slackers at Longbridge and later at Land Rover, but if he hadn't stepped in against selling Land Rover to GM, we'd have likely lost our jobs”.


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