|

Car changeover

 

GEARING up for new challenges are Westaway brothers Bradley and Michael, who have been part of a family motoring dynasty in Leongatha for more than 92 years.

Westaway Ford, Knights Toyota, Knights Mitsubishi and Knights Honda have been sold to PM Regional. Director and dealer principal of the new group is Warren Stewart who will be based in Leongatha.

The official handover and last day for the Westaway family was Wednesday, January 31.

The business was established in 1926 by Vin Knight, the grandfather of Michael and Bradley Westaway.

It was then that Mr Knight, Gippsland’s first A Grade mechanic, opened a small motor and engineering business in Bair Street, Leongatha.

The family line continued when in 1955 John Westaway joined his future father-in-law Vin Knight and married Viv Westaway (Knight) in 1956.

During the 1960s, the business expanded, employing 20 staff members to service highly successful brands Chrysler, Honda and Massey Ferguson.

The year 1993 was another big one for the company when John Westaway re-opened the Ford dealership at its former Hughes Street site in Leongatha.

That year, John’s son Bradley became the youngest dealer principal in the Mitsubishi dealer network.

In 1994, John’s other son Michael, a CPA accountant, joined the Ford team and took on the role of dealer principal of Westaway Ford.

In 2000 an impressive new building was opened on Hughes Street, Leongatha, home to Toyota and Honda products.

Dealer principal of the Mitsubishi, Honda and Toyota businesses, Bradley Westaway, admitted it was “sad to see it all come to an end.”

“The enjoyment we’ve got out of it has been immense; from servicing our local customers to the privilege of employing so many people throughout the years and giving many apprentices a start in the industry,” Bradley said.

Bradley joined the company as a mechanical apprentice in 1983 and has held down almost every position in his 35 years at the business, including in the workshop, service, parts, then car sales and finally as dealer principal.

Bradley said he had no immediate plans but would now spend more time in the gym and get fit as urged by his wife Kathy, who also worked in the business.

He also wants to spend some more time with his car collection and is a member of the South Gippsland Historical Automobile Club.

“This has been a very personal thing for us. The customers have driven our passion,” Kathy said.

“Leongatha is a brilliant community and the support has been immense. Most people have lived by the buy local adage.

“The staff has been great. They are like a family to us and many have left and come back again because they have enjoyed working here.

“The farming community too, the backbone of the area, has stuck with us right through.”

Michael Westaway described the sale as “bitter sweet”.

“Both Anne and I are proud of what we have achieved and happy to leave on such a good note with 30 employed across the franchises. On the other hand we will miss the staff and the people who have come through the door over so many years,” he said.

Michael said his immediate plans were unclear but said time off was on the agenda; a “gap year” as he put it.

Mother of the boys and daughter of the founder of the business, Viv Westaway, who lives in Leongatha, was very supportive of the boy’s decision.

“I’m happy for them; they have owned the business for some time and the decisions they make I support,” she said.

The business names have been changed to reflect the new management and to identify more with the town location, and will now be known simply as Leongatha Ford, Leongatha Mitsubishi, Leongatha Toyota and Leongatha Honda.

Handover: from left, Bradley Westaway and Michael Westaway wish new Dealer Principal Warren Stewart and Nicole Stewart all the best as they take on four new franchises.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=23993

Posted by on Feb 6 2018. Filed under Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Recently Commented

  • tomcummings: The harm caused in our communities by poker machines is well known and well understood, yet the...
  • gigamax1: Ok , so now Wonthaggi SLSC is going to want the same funding. These clubs are within 1 kilometre of each...
  • 01jk: Just wondering what sort of chicken do little warriors eat? Straight from their own coop? Or those which...
  • juliec: I hope the community can change the plan to log state forest in the Strzeleckis. The Strzelecki forests are...
  • russell: As usual Vicroads ignore their own guidelines… This from their own “Road Guide Notes”...