A History of W. Brindley Garages by Syd Taylor
As the old Staffordshire saying goes, 'When a tree is well rooted, a tree is well suited'. And one can say the same for the roots of a well-known local business that was started by the father of Robin Brindley, the current chairman of Brindley Garages Group who joined the company nearly half a century ago and progressively worked his way up from the shop floor to ensure a thorough understanding of the motor trade before taking the company helm.
When the late Bill Brindley (He died in 1989) started selling Morris cars at Birches Bridge Garage from a wooden shed in Codsall in 1931 Britain had abandoned the Gold Standard, the pound devalued by twenty per cent, unemployment sky-rocketed and in America Al Capone had been sentenced for tax evasion. The world was in a mess and times were hard. So difficult, in fact, that the garage had to close over the war years and was near derelict when Colonel Brindley returned from war in 1945.
In his wildest dreams Bill could surely not have envisaged that this was the acorn from which was to grow a mighty oak of an empire that is Britain's largest family owned and family run motor group. An empire that now comprises many motor dealerships holding many franchises throughout the West Midlands. And the remarkable part of the story is that it's still a family business that seems set to continue that way, with Robin's stepson Che Watson as managing director, keen to keep growing the business and take on new challenges.
Here is a company that stands firm in traditions handed down from father to son that will not be stirred - no matter what the economic climate. The wheels that started rolling eighty one years ago when Bill Brindley began to furnish the fortunate of Wolverhampton and environs with automotive transport, continue today to make tracks into the twenty first century.
With ten dealerships representing eleven franchises, Brindleys embrace all the best of today’s manufacturing marques and serve their customers with second-to-none attention to detail and an enviable level of sales and after sales attentiveness.
Long standing family customers (some of whom are in their third generation) draw reassurance, safe in the knowledge that with Robin Brindley and Che Watson in charge, their needs will be met with a degree of conscientiousness so often lacking in business today.
"It's that personal touch that is beyond price" commented Robin when interviewed in the boardroom of the group head office within the imposing new building housing the Kia showroom on Penn road Wolverhampton.
"The fact is that with our unrivalled expertise and knowledge of both the products we sell and the customers we serve, we can go a long way towards ensuring that each is well suited to the other. Our focus has traditionally been not just on how many cars we can sell but on how many customers we can please".
But it isn't only customers who benefit from this success. The local economy benefits too. Over twelve thousand new and used vehicles a year are sold to private and fleet customers and with a loyal staff of over three hundred working as a cohesive team - twenty five have been with the company for as long as a quarter of a century - a turnover of one hundred and fifty million pounds has been reached. Undreamed of heights, no doubt, for Bill Brindley as he battled the austerity of the 'Thirties' and immediate post-war years. It's a great success story - the proud heritage of which serves our region well.
Of course, many key personnel have played their parts along the way and perhaps few more so than recently semi-retired financial director David Tolley whose astute financial acumen successfully enabled many of the groups acquisitions - top amongst which must be the three million pound multi franchise Autopark in Stafford Road, Wolverhampton.
Will Brindley Garages Group keep breaking the records and carry on bequeathing better motoring to grateful Midlanders for a further eighty years? There may be speed limits on our roads, but there's surely no limit to the growth of this hardy family business.