Commer-the company was formed as the Commercial Car Company based in small premises in Lavender Hill, South London. In order to go into volume production a site was bought at Biscot Road, Biscot, Luton, where production of the first truck, the 3 ton RC type started in 1907. In 1909 the first bus was made. With the outbreak of First World War the factory turned to the manufacture of military vehicles for the British Army and by 1919 over 3000 had been made.
In 1926, after being in receivership several times, Commer was taken over by Humber , which in 1931 became part of the Rootes Group .
The Commer name was replaced by the Dodge name during the 1970s following the takeover of Rootes by Chrysler Europe. After Peugeot purchased Chrysler Europe in 1978, the Commer factory was run in partnership with the truck division of Renault, Renault Trucks. It continued to produce the Dodge commercial truck range for some time, with Renault badges and a small amount of product development, eventually these were cancelled in favour of mainstream Renault models and switching production at the factory to production of Renault truck and bus engines in the early 1990s.
Rootes Group
William Rootes started in car sales and by 1924 was one of the biggest distributors in the UK. In 1925 the Rootes brothers bought out Thrupp and Maberley the coachbuilders; it was not unknown for big dealerships to have tie-ins with coachbuilders and to purchase one was a shrewd move. In 1927 Humber and Hillman had adjacent factories and both were failing in the economic conditions, so the Rootes brothers purchased Hillman in 1927 and Humber (with Commer) in 1928, and very quickly streamlined the businesses. However, attempts to bring the business to profit faltered until the launch of the Hillman Minx in 1932 which competed favourably with Ten horsepower cars from Austin and Morris. The Anglo-French STD (Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq) combine failed in 1934, and the Rootes brothers were already creditors to this business and so quickly took over Sunbeam Trolley buses and Sunbeam cars. The Hillman Minx was adapted to become the Talbot Ten. Rootes bought out failing Singer in 1955, but as the 1960s dawned a number of bad things happened, including failure to adapt to a changing market or to match competitors. Rootes tried to arrange a merge, but in the end their shares were grabbed by the American giant Chrysler seeking to gain a foothold in Europe in 1964. In 1967 Chrysler took over Rootes, and in 1975 all the Rootes names gave way to 'Chrysler' badges, and in 1978 Peugeot bought out the French and British Chrysler operations and rebranded everything 'Talbot'.
During the withdrawal of the British and French armies from Dunkirk were left behind large amounts of military equipment on the French beaches. There was an acute military necessity to compensate these losses as soon as possible with new vehicles. Commer got command vehicles for military use as soon as possible.
After the war the new GS version of the Commer Q4, FV 13200 , had four wheel drive and a loading capacity of 3 tons. the Super poise-chassis was improved after the war and was used for the military version. The chassis was stiffened and the suspension adapted for use in site.
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