Standing among the bicycles in his workshop, Mr. William Rootes, father of two boys named William and Reginald, decided that the time had come for him to start selling the noisy machines which were frightening the horses in the Kentish lanes round his hone. "There's a future in motor cars" he said.
The time was the turn of the century and Mr. Rootes was a better prophet than he knew. Motor cars were to become one of Britain's greatest industries and his two sons were destined to emerge as industrial leaders and as builders of their own motor empire.
The decision taken by Mr. Rootes that day in his shop at Hawkhurst, Kent, was the seed from which grew the Rootes Group, an assembly of companies formed for the manufacture, distribution, sales and service of cers and commercial vehicles. Today, Lord Rootes and Sir Reginald Rootes, the sons of that Kentish bicycle manufacturer, are Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Group.
Rootes Motors Limited is the parent company controlling the interests of the Group. The manufacturing undertakings are:
A number of other Group companies are devoted to the sale and service of Group vehicles at home and abroad and for managing finance and hire purchase facilities. In addition the Group has one of the largest car-hire organisations in Europe and its own driving schools in London and the Provinces.