Morgan Motor Company - The Car Maker's Journey into the 21st Century

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Case Details:

Case Code : BSTR201
Case Length : 16 Pages
Pages Period : 1910-2005
Organization : Morgan Motor Company
Pub Date : 2006
Teaching Note :Not Available
Countries : United Kingdom
Themes :Family-Owned Business | Business Environment
Industry : Auto and Ancillaries

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Making Cars The Morgan Way

The Morgan family believed that people bought their cars for qualities that went beyond mere functionality. They liked to think that Morgan cars were exclusive products for which customers were willing to place an advance order and wait a number of years for delivery.

This, in the opinion of the Morgan family, justified the way in which the cars were made at Morgan and the care that was lavished on making them. The most significant thing about the Morgan way of car making was tradition. All the cars were built to order. After a customer placed an order with the company or one of its dealers, he was allotted a build ticket with a number. The cars moved in the manufacturing plant in the order of the build ticket number. At every stage, a major part of the building process was done by hand and workers only used simple tools to assist them. Use of power tools was limited and there was no sign of automation in the workshop until the late 1990s...

Concessions to Modernity - The Making of the Aero 8

Despite the fact that the Morgan family did not accept Sir John's suggestions, a slow revolution began at the company in the time following his visit. By the 1990s, Charles Morgan (who became the Managing Director in 1985) had started playing a greater role in the business and he brought with him some modern ideas that did not threaten Morgan's sense of tradition.

The company started automating some of its processes when it started making the aluminum fenders with an automatic press rather that by hand in the late 1990s. Soon after this it changed the layout of the workshop, so that the production process now moved downhill rather than uphill, thus improving the efficiency and cutting wasteful movement. (The production process started in the chassis shop where the engine, gearbox and back axle were fitted to a chassis. The rolling chassis then traveled through the factory, first to the body fitting department, where the ash body frames and aluminum panels were fitted and then to the paint shop and assembly, ending with finishing and trimming)...

Will Change Pay Off for Morgan?

Morgan was the antithesis of all that typified a car manufacturer. For decades, it bypassed modern production systems, did not adopt technology in a big way, employed just over a 100 people and continued making individually commissioned cars with a waiting time of more than a year before delivery. Analysts were generally surprised by the fact that a company that was so obviously resistant to change was able to survive for almost a century in the cut throat auto industry...


Exhibit I: The Family Runabout
Exhibit II: The Morgan +4 (1961 Model)
Exhibit III: The Morgan +8 (1977 Model)
Exhibit IV: The Morgan Aero 8
Exhibit V: Morgan Aero 8's Technical Specifications

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