Rootes Australia

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The Hillman Minx was the first and most popular Rootes Australia vehicle. This is a 1956 Mark VIII Gaylook De Luxe Saloon[1]
The Humber Vogue was assembled from 1962 to 1965

Rootes Australia was the Australian affiliate of the Rootes Group, a British motor vehicle manufacturing company.[2]

The company was formed immediately after the Second World War[2] initially operating as an importing and distribution firm.[3] It began assembling Hillman Minx vehicles at Port Melbourne in Victoria in 1946.[4] This was the first instance of a British motor manufacturer establishing a production line in Australia.[5][6] By 1954 the company had gained a 5.4% share of the local market and subsequently announced plans to create a full local manufacturing facility.[2] A 35-hectare site was acquired for this purpose at Harrisfield (now known as Noble Park), near Dandenong in Victoria. However, the proposed plant was never built.[2]

Hillman, Humber and Singer models were assembled successfully for a number of years. The company also produced models which were hybrids of the three makes.[3] By the mid-1960s, falling sales and an ageing model line-up meant the Rootes Group was in trouble both in Britain and Australia.[7] In December 1965, Rootes Australia was merged with Chrysler Australia.[2] Assembly operations were continued at the Port Melbourne facility [8] and Hillman cars, Humber cars and Commer trucks were now sold by Chrysler dealers.[8] Chrysler was quick to phase out the Humber brand,[9] however assembly of the Hillman Arrow and Hunter range was commenced in early 1967.[9] Chrysler Australia also utilised Port Melbourne for assembly of the Dodge Phoenix from 1968 and Mitsubishi's Galant from 1971.[9] The last Hillman Hunter was produced in November 1972,[10] and, with Dodge Phoenix and Galant assembly transferred to Tonsley Park in South Australia at the end of 1972, the Port Melbourne facility was closed.[10]

Significant models produced by Rootes Australia included the following:

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gallery at Hillman Owners' Club of Australia Inc
  2. ^ a b c d e The Macquarie Dictionary of Motoring, 1986, page 413
  3. ^ a b c The Macquarie Dictionary of Motoring, 1986, page 216
  4. ^ Pedr Davis, Wheels Across Australia, 1987, page 208
  5. ^ Shaun Birney, A Nation on Wheels, 1987, page 187
  6. ^ Rootes Group at Motoring Weekly (UK)
  7. ^ Shaun Birney, A Nation on Wheels, 1987, page 188
  8. ^ a b Gavin Farmer, Great Ideas in Motion, A History of Chrysler in Australia 1946-1981, Ilinga Books, 2010, page 428
  9. ^ a b c Gavin Farmer, Great Ideas in Motion, A History of Chrysler in Australia 1946-1981, Ilinga Books, 2010, page 280
  10. ^ a b Gavin Farmer, Great Ideas in Motion, A History of Chrysler in Australia 1946-1981, Ilinga Books, 2010, page 282
  11. ^ a b The Macquarie Dictionary of Motoring, 1986, page 226
  12. ^ a b Advertisement for Sunbeam Mk III and Alpine "Produced in the factory of Rootes Australia Limited", Modern Motor, March 1955, page 34
  13. ^ Australian Humber History Retrieved from web.archive.org on 23 January 2009
  14. ^ .The Macquarie Dictionary of Motoring, 1986, page 436
  15. ^ Gavin Farmer, Great Ideas in Motion, A History of Chrysler in Australia 1946-1981, Ilinga Books, 2010, page 365
  16. ^ Gavin Farmer, Great Ideas in Motion, A History of Chrysler in Australia 1946-1981, Ilinga Books, 2010, page 273

External links[edit]