quinta-feira, 9 de junho de 2011

The end of the CF - Bedford Midi

I did some online research about the end of the Bedford CF and this is what I have come up with so far.
If you have any further information please comment below.

When you think about the end of the Bedford CF model you naturally look at it's successor, the Midi.
But in this case you can't really blame the Bedford Midi for ending the CF legacy. In fact, the Midi wasn't intended to replace the CF, it was a stop-gap van and actually both the Midi and the CF2 were built and sold side by side in 1986/87. Unfortunately the CF replacement never came and that was effectively the end of British Bedford design.

Where did the Midi come from?
In 1985 Bedford was in trouble, sales were dropping as a result of cheaper and technologically advanced overseas competition, so someone at GM had the idea to follow the old proverb 'if you can't beat them, join them'.
A joint venture was formed with Isuzu in 1986. The new company, IBC Vehicles (Isuzu Bedford Company Ltd) started manufacturing re-badged vehicles in the Luton factory. The only vehicles that would carry the Bedford badge would be the Midi (a re-badged Isuzu Seta) and a smaller economical van, the Rascal (a re-badged Suzuki Supercarry). In 1990 the Bedford brand was retired completely and both these vans were re-badged again, this time with the Vauxhall brand. They would last just 4 more years and in 1998, GM bought Isuzu out of the IBC partnership.

While IBC was focusing on the vans, in 1987 the Bedford truck section was sold to AWD Ltd, a company owned by David John Bowes Brown. The AWD name was used as GM would only allow the use of the Bedford name for military trucks. The Bedford Vehicles brand was eventually sold to AWD in 1990 and that's when the Midi and Rascal vans were re-badged as Vauxhall. AWD went into receivership in 1992 and was bought by dealer network Marshall of Cambridge.

Freight Rover talks.
In 1985 before the joint venture with Isuzu, there were talks with Freight Rover about producing the Sherpa 300 series van under license which came to nothing by late 1986.

In conclusion, instead of focusing attention to the development and evolution of the CF, GM decided to take the easy and economical route of re-badging another van. History can confirm that it was the wrong decision as it only led to the end of Bedford while it's long time rival the Ford Transit continued to strive and is now celebrating it's 45th anniversary.

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