First UK Ford firm reaches milestone

Jacquie Shaw of the NMRN

Millions of unseen naval artefacts to star in new Portsmouth museum

It's weathered recessions and world wars, but now Hampshire's Hendy Group has reach its centennial year.

And to celebrate, what better place to hold a VIP lunch but Goodwood, home of classic motor racing and Rolls Royce?

The group became the first Ford dealer in Britain in November 1910 and its growth and success since then was celebrated this month at the lunch, hosted by Hendy Group chairman Brian Hendy.

Today the company employs 700 people at 21 locations across the south and has a turnover of 250m.

Mr Hendy said: 'One hundred years ago Henry Ford arrived in Southampton after a transatlantic voyage to launch the Ford Motor Company in the UK and a meeting with Percy Hendy was the start of Hendy Ford.

'The company still remains firmly in the Hendy family but we have come a long way since those early days.'

The Hendy name is synonymous with the Ford brand, with car and truck dealerships from Poole through to Southampton, Winchester, Portsmouth and Chichester.

In addition, the company has also expanded its operations to include dealerships for Kia, Mazda and Honda, together with increasing its reach to Devon and Cornwall.

Mr Hendy said the company's success could be attributed to a number of factors.

'Throughout the 100 years we have been conscious that the industry has changed continually and we have focused on being at the forefront of new developments, ensuring high levels of quality in every area of the business to build up customer loyalty and become an integral part of the communities in which we operate,' he said.

Guests at the lunch included Ford of Britain managing director Nigel Sharp, together with companies and individuals who have played a key role in the fortunes of the company over the years - and of course a host of Ford motor cars spanning the decades.

Mr Sharp, added: 'We are delighted that Hendy is celebrating 100 years as a Ford dealer.

'It is a tribute to Hendy, and fitting for the Ford connection, that the first UKdealer to be signed up to sell Ford vehicles is continuing in the same business stronger than ever, still run by family members.

'A key factor in its success is its stated mission to achieve 100 per cent customer satisfaction and its outstanding results show it isa long way towardmeeting this goal.