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Growth and decline

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In 1945 the production of car carburetters and petrol pumps resumed and the company moved to a site in Wood Lane in Erdington Birmingham in July 1947. Later in the same year, in December, the link with the company's founder ended when Mr T C Skinner retired. With the end of its military requirement, the company's interest in fuel injection manufacture was sold to the Stirling Company of America. The company's market for carburetters and fuel lift pumps expanded considerably as Morris Motors Ltd merged with the Austin Motor Co. Ltd in 1952, to form the British Motor Corporation, and then still further when in 1965 British Motor Holdings was formed in association with Jaguar Guy and Coventry Climax. This period and the following few years saw the peak of production for the company ranging from 'H' through 'HD' to 'HS' types when in excess of or 30,000 carburetters were produced each week. In addition to carburetters, the company expanded its product range with the introduction of a Mechanical Fuel Lift Pump and an Automatic Cold Start Enrichment Device. In the late 1960's the HIF Carburetter (Horizontal Integral Float) incorporating temperature compensation was introduced, leading to a need to expand the plant. With the various amalgamations and restructuring of the parent company over the next few years the name of the company was changed, in 1976 to S.U Fuel Systems as part of the S.U Butec division, and in 1983 to Austin Rover Fuel Systems as part of the Light Medium Cars division of British Leyland Cars. In 1984 the Design and Development Departments were transferred to Longbridge and S.U had become basically a manufacturing plant. Product development during this same period saw the introduction of 'Ball Bearing' piston slides to the range, and an electronically controlled cold start system for the HIF type. Carburetter manufacture declined with the introduction of Fuel Injection Systems for cars, and S.U started production of both Single Point and Multi Point Throttle Bodies. An alternative product line started in 1983 when Austin Rover's '01' Series Engines Oil Pump was transferred into S.U from the Morris Engines Plant in Coventry, which was being closed down. Other additional products were acquired in 1984/5 when the UK part of Solex went into liquidation and in conjunction with Burlen Fuel Systems, negotiated the manufacture and supply of Zenith Solex components required for spares support. Administratively the period of 1976 to 1986 saw the company on a roller-coaster ride, during which time no fewer than ten top mangers came and went. This lack of continuity at the top meant that the business declined. The only additional products added in this period being low volume throttle bodies for Rolls Royce and Lotus both of which were manufactured to the customers own design, In 1988 following the restructuring of Austin rover by Michael Edwards, S.U were sold to the Hobourn Group and the company name changed to Hobourn S.U and subsequent to this, in September 1989, the Hobourn Group was acquired by Echlin Inc of the USA. The Echlin Group's UK companies included Quinton Hazell and this gave S.U another route for sales. A Design and Development facility capable of covering both oil pump and throttle body work was created allowing existing and potential customers to be approached with a comprehensive service. Product design and development over the next four years saw the company supplying Rover with oil pumps and a refined version of the HIF carburetter for the Rover K Series engines. This unit known as the KIF was to be the last new specification carburetter to be produced by the company. A major development exercise led to the manufacture of a 'Plastic' throttle body for the Rover K series engines. The requirement by customers for larger unit assemblies saw S.U supplying induction manifold assemblies complete with throttle bodies to Rover, Rolls Royce and Land Rover. In spite of these initiatives the 'added value' of the in house content of the company's work suffered in line with the overall requirements of its major customers and manning reductions were made. In August 1999 Dana Inc of the USA (a major American car parts supplier with an increasing presence in Europe) took over the Echlin group and the company name changed once again to Dana-SU. Automotive.

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