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British Industrial History

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S. T. D. Motors

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1920 Proposal announced for A. Darracq (1905) Ltd and Sunbeam Motor Car Co to be amalgamated with Sunbeam shareholders receiving an equal number of Darracq shares. The name of the parent company would be changed from A. Darracq (1905) Ltd to S. T. D. Motors to reflect the names of the 3 companies making up the new company - Sunbeam, Talbot and Darracq[1]. Production would continue at the 3 sites - Wolverhampton (Sunbeam), London (Talbot) and Suresnes (Darracq). In addition a central organisation for buying, selling, advertising and administration would be established. The absorption of W. and G. Du Cros would expand body-building capacity adjacent to the Talbot works, something which was necessary due to the inadequate capacity of the Darracq company[2].

1922 Order received from French Army for large quantity of "aviation motors"[3].

1923 Shift in production of some brands to focus on small cars, especially Talbot[4].

1924 Modestly improving business allowed resumption of dividend payment. Major reorganisation of French works and redesign of models had been successful. Sunbeam successes but some subsidiary companies just breaking-even or making small loss[5]. Sale of new shares to the public to raise capital[6]. Advert mentioned that company owned shares in:

1930 The company had suffered from the long decline in value of the French franc (affecting the income received from its French subsidiary). A scheme of capital reduction was proposed to reflect this, and to allow resumption of dividends on the Preference shares[7].

1930 Outside advisers called in to examine the management and position of the subsidiary companies. The fall in profits was almost entirely due to reduction in demand for larger cars as made by Sunbeam[8].

1931 On considering the results of the review of the subsidiaries, the whole Board resigned. A new chairman and directors were appointed[9]. Rationalization was to be undertaken, including centralisation of certain functions such as purchasing, appointment of directors of subsidiary companies to the parent company board, giving each subsidiary the same financial year as the parent and appointing one firm of auditors for the whole group; a committee of shareholders was appointed to examine the adviser's report in detail[10].

1932 The chairman described cost savings made and emphasised the reputation of the company for quality products, especially Sunbeam and Talbot models. He contrasted these with the cheaper "mass-produced" cars but suggested the latter could provide a stepping-stone for customers who would later purchase quality cars[11].

1933 Results affected by external circumstances and proposals for taxing motorists. Sunbeam had developed electric trolley-bus and a petrol bus; Talbot had developed an ambulance[12].

1933 Further drastic write-down of capital approved[13].

1934 Rumours that a Receiver would be appointed were denied by the Company[14]. Within a few days an application was made to the Courts[15]. After several more Court appearances, the Company paid money to cover the outstanding notes and the action to appoint a receiver was brought to an end[16].

1935 Clement Talbot and Darracq Motor Engineering Co sold to Rootes Securities[17]. Receivers appointed to Sunbeam because its position was less favourable[18].

1935 Disposed of interest in Heenan and Froude. Disposed of Sunbeam and W. and G. Du Cros and Jonas Woodhead and Sons and agreement reached with French associated company[19]. After close battle with group of shareholders over the summer, the Board survived.

1936 Company in liquidation[20].

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, 9 June 1920
  2. The Times, 14 August 1920
  3. The Times, 8 February 1922
  4. The Times, 21 February 1923
  5. The Times, 20 February 1924
  6. The Times, 10 March 1924
  7. The Times, 21 February 1930
  8. The Times, 12 August 1930
  9. The Times, 25 March 1931
  10. The Times, 30 April 1931
  11. The Times, 9 January 1932
  12. The Times, 27 January 1933
  13. The Times, 23 June 1933
  14. The Times, 1 October 1934
  15. The Times, 10 October 1934
  16. The Times, 26 October 1934
  17. The Times, 12 February 1935
  18. The Times, 21 February 1935
  19. The Times, 22 April 1936
  20. The Times, 22 April 1936