Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,162 pages of information and 233,682 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Rootes Motors

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April 1951.
October 1956.
October 1956.
October 1956.
Oct 1960. Singer: Gazelle.
Oct 1960. Commer 3/4/ ton passenger range.
Oct 1960. Hillman: Minx.
Oct 1960. Hillman: Husky.
18th March 1961.
October 1961.
October 1962. Sunbeam: Rapier.
Oct 1962. Singer: Vogue.
Oct 1962. Hillman: Minx.
Oct 1966. Singer: Vogue.
Oct 1966. Singer: Chamois.
Oct 1966. Humber: Cars.
Oct 1966. Hillman: Hunter.
1969. Car bodies are built up on dollies that are drawn along by a floor-mounted powered truck.

Motor traders and manufacturers, of Devonshire House, Piccadilly, London

1888 Predecessor company founded.

1917 Private company Rootes Ltd was founded by William Edward Rootes who returned to motor trading after demobilization.

1919 William's younger brother, Reginald Claud Rootes, was persuaded to join him. The brothers developed their business, initially in Maidstone, with many agencies including one for General Motors.

Mid-1920s Rootes Ltd was the largest distributor in Britain; had dealerships also in London, Birmingham, and Manchester.

1926 Head office moved to the new Devonshire House in Piccadilly, London.

1933 Holding company name changed to Rootes Securities Ltd [1]

1949 Name changed to Rootes Motors; incorporated as a Public company but the Ordinary shares (most of which were held by the Rootes family) were not available to the public.

1954 Offered more shares to the market for expansion. [2]

1955 Purchased Singer

1956 The sons of the founders take up senior positions in the company. Brian Rootes, age 36, the second son of William is MD of Rootes Ltd. Geoffrey Rootes is MD of manufacturing companies. Timothy Rootes, age 31, son of Reginald is director of sales and service. [3]

1961 Holding company for 23 subsidiaries. Group employees are 25,000.

1961 Engaged in the servicing and distribution of "Humber", "Hillman", "Sunbeam" and "Singer" motor cars, "Commer" and "Karrier" commercial vehicles, and diesel engines. 25,000 employees. [4]

1961 Main Dealers: Cathedral Garage, Davenport Vernon and Co, Reading Garage Co and Alec Bennett.[5]

1962 Change in directors of the company. [6]

1964 Chrysler acquired 46 percent of Rootes Motors which was in financial difficulties[7]

1965 Changes in directors announced. [8]

1967 Announced tie-up with Chrysler. [9]

1967 After Rootes announced a £97 million loss, Chrysler took a controlling interest with Industrial Reorganisation Corporation holding a minority. The 30 subsidiary companies were consolidated into 2 - Rootes Motors Ltd and Rootes Pressings (Scotland) Ltd - in order to reduce admin expenses[10]

1969 Rootes introduced a range of spares and accessories to be supplied directly to their 3,000 distributors[11] which were marketed under the brand name Mopar[12]

Subsequently Chrysler acquired the minority interest in Rootes and suppressed the Rootes brand, using Chrysler instead.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, Monday, Nov 21, 1949
  2. The Times, Monday, Nov 22, 1954
  3. The Times, Tuesday, Jul 17, 1956
  4. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
  5. Advertisement October 1961
  6. The Times, Thursday, Jul 12, 1962
  7. The Times, May 12, 1975
  8. The Times, Tuesday, Jan 19, 1965
  9. The Times, Wednesday, Jan 18, 1967
  10. Times, Dec 29, 1967
  11. The Times, Oct 21, 1969
  12. The Times Jun 08, 1970
  • Biography of William Edward Rootes, ODNB [1]