A Long Road Ahead for the British Car Industry

Regarding the Economy page article "British Stage Set For Japanese Invasion," Dec. 2: The author rightly draws attention to the sad state of the British car industry. It seems likely that Britain will only get back into being a major car producer when Japanese carmakers make cars on a big scale in Britain with the aim of exporting them to other European countries.

One can only ruefully agree with the author when he points out how successful French firms like Renault, Peugeot, and Citroen have been in selling to their cross-channel neighbor. Although British designers and marketing people have their faults, surely the main reason for Britain's failure in the car and truck world is the policy of the British government.

Successive British governments have kept to certain rules. One is that no government money can be provided for nationalized companies. Another government policy is that no objections can be raised to the sale of British companies to foreign buyers. The consequence is that the British automotive industry has gotten smaller.

On a smaller scale, the small output of cars from factories in Britain has much to do with British policy of not encouraging motorists to drive diesel cars. As a result, more than twice as many diesel cars are sold in France as in Britain and many British import their cars from France. Howard Fry, Dulverton, England Guns in Somalia

I was particularly interested in the editorial "Dealing With Somalia's Guns," Dec. 16. It states that undoubtedly there is a glut of assault rifles and other weaponry. I'm sure that is true. Alas, the British, the French, and the Russians have sold these weapons not only to Somalia, but to so many third- world countries. In many cases these countries are still paying interest on loans made to them to purchase arms, and they cannot afford to pay for food necessary to avoid starvation of their people.

It's incredible to me that we are still selling weapons and indeed competing to do so. Until this trade is stopped, it seems that we are hypocritical when our responsibilities in the United Nations condemn the people who make use of these dreadful tools. F. G. Watson, Chichester, England

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