Higher Union Road, Devon, TQ7 1EQ
Garage type: Franchised Dealer
Phone: 0330 1304806
Quay Auto Centre, is the trading title of Quay Garage Co. Ltd which was incorporated in March 1914 and its founding Directors and Shareholders were an Ironmonger, a Dentist and a Musical Instrument Maker. From them ownership passed in the early nineteen twenties to Alfred Burgoyne, who operated a transport company in the town, and in 1932 it passed to Alfred's brother-in-law James Trembath, an accountant from Totnes, in whose family it has remained ever since.
Initially the company was located on the Quay in the building that now houses Wills Marine. However, it soon outgrew that and in 1918 it moved to a purpose built garage at the then head of the estuary where it remained until 2001 when it closed it's Petrol Forecourt & Shop in favour of a Joint Development of Shops and Flats which commenced in 2004.
Starting back in 1914 with a Ford Agency, as it was known then, the company has represented several vehicle manufacturers over the years but in many ways it's enduring strength has been its Service and Repair business which historically also included heavy commercial and marine maintenance.
However in the late fifties it seriously re-entered the new car market when it was awarded the Standard Triumph franchise for the area. As the manufacturers rationalised and grouped together so Quay Garage sought and gained the individual franchises of the new groupings with Rover, Austin, Morris, MG, Wolsely and Riley.
Inevitably this period of expansion required more space and so in June 1974 the company re-located its Service and Parts Departments together with a vehicle storage facility to leased premises at Homelands, Union Road.
Then in 1986 a former factory unit just across the road became available and its purchase seemed too good an opportunity to miss particularly as the site would be along side the proposed new Kingsbridge Relief Road.
At the same time, as British volume car manufacturers had shrunk to just Rover and it looked increasingly vulnerable, the company sought and gained the Suzuki franchise as a second string but which rapidly turned out to be the first string.
The crunch finally came with Rover when 155 small dealers, including Quay, were terminated in 1998. As with the 'Beeching Axe' of the railways, customers did not automatically go to the rail head (ie. the Main Dealers) and sales of Rovers cars have continued to decline ever since.
Fortunately the company foresaw the inevitable and a few years earlier had also gained the Ford franchise, as a further safeguard. Whilst losing the Rover franchise after so many years seemed a blow at the time, the company now holds two very strong franchises both with long term futures.
These two franchises have now been wholly located in the Higher Union Road site, which, in order to meet the increasingly high standards of both manufacturers, has just undergone a major 150k refurbishment and now offers one of the highest standards of customer facilities and staff working conditions in the area.
With the goal posts seemingly ever moving in the motor industry, the company continues to face changes and new developments. Nevertheless having celebrated its Centenary in 2014, it looks forward with confidence to the next one hundred years.