GUEST HISTORY – FAMOUS FOR OUR SERVICE SINCE 1915
The Guest story began at the turn of the last century when Frank Guest started a business in 1902 repairing bicycles in West Bromwich. With his wife, Mary Jane, they quickly progressed into manufacturing and selling motorcycles, along with sports goods and fireworks from a shop in West Bromwich High Street.
Then in 1915 a Ford Motor Company franchise for motor cars and tractors became available, Frank seized the opportunity, which was during the First World War, so they also became involved with the manufacture of gun and tank parts.
After the war in 1920 Ford encouraged their dealers to really concentrate on the growing opportunities the market presented (nothing ever changes) and this is exactly what the business did, focusing all its energies on this, with business prospering on the back of the ‘Model T’.
Frank and his wife Mary Jane had two sons, Richard who joined the business in the early 1920s in Sales Administration and Frank Junior who joined later that decade on the Service side.
During World War Two the business once again came to support our country by servicing wartime products and by stripping down aircraft. Sadly, Frank died in 1942 leaving his sons to run the company, initially struggling in the post war era, but on the back of new Ford cars things had started to improve by the 1950s.
The third generation of the family, Peter Guest, joined the company in 1957, working under the watchful eye of his father Richard. The following year Peter took over the running of the business, embarking on expansion into commercial vehicles, along with tyres, and changing the name of the business from Frank Guest Limited to the Guest Motors Limited that we know today.
Following many changes in the business including the merger of Iveco and the commercial vehicle business of Ford, to form Iveco Ford Truck the company became the responsibility of Ian Guest, the fourth generation continuing at the helm today.
Under Ian’s leadership, in 1992 the opportunity to expand into the truck business came with the company opening a purpose-built truck facility in West Bromwich and a new tyre fitting facility in Great Bridge.
The business then went on to open sites in Wolverhampton in 1994 and subsequently in Birmingham in 1998.
Ford cars had been in the veins of the business for nearly 85 years when the time came to part company, with the business on West Bromwich High Street being sold.
The new century saw a change of direction for the company with Guest establishing a stronger relationship with the Fiat Group, growing from our Iveco business.
In 2002 Guest took the opportunity to move down the M6 to Coventry, but also to open as a Fiat Commercial Vehicle dealer, one of the first in Europe to do this alongside Iveco, something that is now commonplace.
Guest also took over the Alfa Romeo dealership in Knowle, further developing this new business by opening in Willenhall in 2008, initially as Alfa Romeo only, expanding into Fiat then Jeep and Abarth. In 2016 the decision was taken to concentrate activities in the commercial vehicle sector as a result of this the car dealerships were sold.
In 2009 Iveco decided to streamline their network and Guest increased their Iveco operation, initially opening branches in Leicester in 2010, then Peterborough, Boston and Cambridge the same year.
In 2011 the business acquired Sherwood Truck and Van, adding sites in Stoke on Trent, Nottingham, South Normanton and Sheffield. Further changes in the same year included; opening new Guest sites in Norwich and a brief venture into Ipswich, consolidating both these operations in Thetford in 2017.
Embracing the truck and van business the company saw the accessory business as a growth area and having purchased Vehicle Lining Services, the company also set out to increase the level of services and solutions it provides. Sentinel is our dedicated brand for Fleet Management and Service Provision. Also, part of the group is Partscomm, operating from a dedicated warehouse in Hinckley with nationwide support, this brand focusses on the supply of non-franchise parts and supply chain solutions. However due to ever increasing competition the company also took the opportunity to exit its tyre operation.
Leaving the company where it is today, having grown from a small family company into the UK’s largest Iveco Dealer Group & Fiat Professional Dealer, with the complimentary services and solutions operations of Partscomm, Vehicle Lining Services and Sentinel sitting alongside.
Core to the ‘Guest Customer’ philosophy at all of our operations is customer service. Whether you run 1 or 1000 vehicles we truly value your custom and welcome any opportunity to assist you with your vehicle needs and requirements. Our mission statements reflects this:
‘To provide the highest quality of automotive service to all our stakeholders through fair and understanding interactions.’