News in brief

Cars win bronze

Car sales figures to be published today will show that 1997 was the third most successful year ever, with around 2,160,000 sold. The record year was 1989 when sales reached 2.3 million.

It’s still Yes

A new company, QuinCo, has been set up to take on a new five-year initiative which will follow in the footsteps of YearCo, which ran the Year of Engineering Success last year. The new programme will be known as Yes to Engineering.

USAF modifies

The US Air Force is to modify the engine fuel system of its 110 British-made Slingsby T3 training aircraft at its own expense after three fatal crashes. The T3 uses an American Textron Lycoming piston engine.

Vickers sees no veto

Vickers denied this week that Rolls-Royce plc has a veto over Vickers’ sale of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. Vickers disputes Rolls-Royce’s position that 1973 agreements gave it rights over the use of the Rolls-Royce name. Vickers and Rolls-Royce clashed over whether the deals were enforceable under European Union law. Vickers claimed ‘a number of credible purchasers’ for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars; Rolls is said to back a BMW bid.

French missile

Anglo-French missile maker Matra BAe Dynamics has won a £450m contract to supply 500 Scalp missiles to the French air force.

Offshore pay

The Offshore Contractors’ Association has agreed new pay rates with the two main unions involved in hooking up North Sea platforms. The deal with the AEEU and GMB unions runs for 12 months from 1 January and will increase a skilled tradesman’s pay by £30 a week to an average annual salary of £34,250.