A MOTOR dealership founded almost a century ago has been bought by its management.
Dews Motor Group, which was established in 1910 in Brighouse by pioneer driver Ernest Dews, has remained within the wider Dews family over the years.
Now a management buy-out team, led by Ernest’s grandson, David Hamer, and son Craig, have bought out former family shareholders to put the business in the hands of its working directors.
David’s wife, Lynn, also becomes a shareholder.
The deal was backed by Barclays, which has been the business’ bankers for 98 years.
Dews operates from garages in Halifax and Brighouse and is a main dealer for Vauxhall and Alfa Romeo.
As part of the buy-out the group will also take the Peugeot franchise in Halifax.
It sells more than 2,500 vehicles a year from its showrooms.
Mr Hamer, who is chairman and managing director, has been in the business for more than 40 years and is proud of the business that has been built up over three generations.
“Dews is a family firm, it always has been and I hope always will be,” he said. “We like to run a business where service always comes first, and where we treat every customer as an individual.”
Craig Hamer has spent eight years in London, where he worked in marketing and strategy for a number of major companies.
Ivor Nicholas, corporate manager for Barclays Commercial Bank, said: “Dews Motor Group is a very long-standing customer of Barclays and we share the same work ethos around integrity and customer service.
“We are delighted to be associated with the next phase of their development plans. This very much demonstrates our continued commitment to the corporate market at this time.”
Dews Motor Group also incorporates its own petrol retail arm, bodyshop, fleet business and vehicle rental division.
It is a far cry from the company’s origins. Ernest Dews bought his first car, a six-horsepower, single-cylinder De Dion, in the early 1900s.
It was only the 13th car to be registered in Huddersfield.
In 1910 Mr Dews returned to Brighouse after working in America and founded the Dews Garages Group.
The venture was made all the more spirited given that at that time there were only half a dozen drivers in Brighouse.
Dews began as agents selling and repairing such famous machines as Argyle, De Dion, Corre Benz and Vulcan cars before adopting its most famous brand, Vauxhall/Bedford in 1928.
The outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 curtailed expansion, but the group was back in the driving seat in 1945, when it opened a new dealership in Halifax.