The Bullet that Backfired on British Leyland.
Codename Bullet was British Leyland’s audacious bid to conquer the North American sports car market, in order to earn the vital export dollars needed to re-invest in their ageing model range. Undeterred by draconian US safety and emission regulations, they stepped boldly forward as European manufacturers. BL was blighted by poor industrial relations, lack of investment and economic crises that devastated British industry. The purpose-built Triumph factory at Speke was closed three years after the TR7 launch and production moved twice before cancellation in 1981. A similar project in Japan created the Datsun 240z, demonstrating how an opportunity had been squandered, but British Leyland’s launch of an under developed car administered a fatal blow to the company’s battered reputation, increasing reliance on government aid and accelerated a cycle of terminal decline.