From Graces Guide
Motor traders and manufacturers, of Devonshire House, Piccadilly, London
1888 Predecessor company founded.
1919 William's younger brother, Reginald Claud Rootes, was persuaded to join him. The brothers developed their business, initially in Maidstone, with many agencies including one for General Motors.
Mid-1920s Rootes Ltd was the largest distributor in Britain; had dealerships also in London, Birmingham, and Manchester.
1926 Head office moved to the new Devonshire House in Piccadilly, London.
1949 Name changed to Rootes Motors; incorporated as a Public company but the Ordinary shares (most of which were held by the Rootes family) were not available to the public.
1954 Offered more shares to the market for expansion. 
1955 Purchased Singer
1956 The sons of the founders take up senior positions in the company. Brian Rootes, age 36, the second son of William is MD of Rootes Ltd. Geoffrey Rootes is MD of manufacturing companies. Timothy Rootes, age 31, son of Reginald is director of sales and service. 
1961 Holding company for 23 subsidiaries. Group employees are 25,000.
1961 Engaged in the servicing and distribution of "Humber", "Hillman", "Sunbeam" and "Singer" motor cars, "Commer" and "Karrier" commercial vehicles, and diesel engines. 25,000 employees. 
1962 Change in directors of the company. 
1965 Changes in directors announced. 
1967 Announced tie-up with Chrysler. 
1967 After Rootes announced a £97 million loss, Chrysler took a controlling interest with Industrial Reorganisation Corporation holding a minority. The 30 subsidiary companies were consolidated into 2 - Rootes Motors Ltd and Rootes Pressings (Scotland) Ltd - in order to reduce admin expenses
Subsequently Chrysler acquired the minority interest in Rootes and suppressed the Rootes brand, using Chrysler instead.
Sources of Information
- The Times, Monday, Nov 21, 1949
- The Times, Monday, Nov 22, 1954
- The Times, Tuesday, Jul 17, 1956
- 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
- The Times, Thursday, Jul 12, 1962
- The Times, May 12, 1975
- The Times, Tuesday, Jan 19, 1965
- The Times, Wednesday, Jan 18, 1967
- Times, Dec 29, 1967
- The Times, Oct 21, 1969
- The Times Jun 08, 1970
- Biography of William Edward Rootes, ODNB