Rates Ford Heritage

  • 1950's

    In the Beginning. The 1950’s

    R.T. Rate Ltd was incorporated in 1955 by Richard Thomas Rate (father of Colin Rate, the crrent Chairman) and his business partner Ronald Joseph Pegram. Richard (known as Tom) came out of the Second World War without a job, as did many soldiers at the time, so he decided to start a small business moving cement with his own lorry. This venture grew steadily over 10 years to three lorries and a successful business.

    Rates Ford Certificate Of Incirporation

  • 1960's

    The 1960’s

    At the time Tom did not have anywhere to leave the Lorries whilst they were not on the road doing deliveries, so he purchased a piece of land in Hogg Lane which, in those days, was very much a secondary road with little or no traffic. When the Lorries were out working, Tom decided that now, he had somewhere to leave the Lorries overnight, he would build a petrol station and repair garage.

    Tom and Ron first manufacturer franchise was Auto Union (now known as Audi). There were very little sales for that type of vehicle in those days so they made the business decision to seek other makes which turned out to be Rootes selling Hillmans and Sunbeams, Rootes was sold to Chrysler around 1967

  • 1970's

    The 1970’s

    Ford made an approach to R.T.Rate Limited in 1975 as they had no representation in Thurrock. Colin Rate (Chairman) took hold of this opportunity and Rates became a Ford dealer in December 1976 just as the new Ford Fiesta was launched. This undoubtedly was the best move the company ever made, and sales of the new Fiesta soon took hold and built the foundation of the business we have today.

  • 1980's

    The 1980’s

    The 1988-1989 recession caused some difficult financial challenges. However, Rates have always been a resilient company and managed to trade and navigate its way through those difficult times.

  • 1990's

    The 1990’s

    During the 90’s Rates ventured into the body repair business and followed the guidelines of the then branded Ford Bodyshop scheme. We purchased the defunct GPO (now British Telecom) building to dedicate all body repairs through this separate and dedicated facility. This was in operation for around seven years to which it was decided to close down the repair centre due to very low and often negative margins making it unviable. The site of the old Bodyshop is now flats which has probably served a better purpose.

    During this period we also ventured into Daily Rental through the Ford Rent-a-Car programme. As with the Bodyshop operation there were some serious competition with large daily rental companies who could easily undercut the cost to which the decision was also taken to close down this operation to focus on vehicle sales and servicing.

    During this 1990’s the country was going through some difficult times and that in turn put some serious pressure on vehicles sales so we did what we are good at and reduced costs, batten down the hatches and waited for the economic storm to calm. During this time we relocated our main parts department to smaller more cost effective premises in West Thurrock. This allowed us to focus on price and customer service for the supply of parts to retail and local independent workshops. During this difficult time we achieved this with a great success by delivering what our customers wanted that being, superior service, competitive prices and great customer satisfaction.

  • Present

    The Noughties to Current Day

    The business opened up a new satellite operation in Stanford-Le-Hope Essex next to the railway station in London Road. The operation catered for new and used vehicle sales together with a service operation. A commercial decision was made in 2007 to close the operation and focus back on the Hogg Lane business.

    During the noughties we were also given a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) as the then TTGDC were instructed to deliver a Community Hospital on the adjoining land to rates which meant we would have become part of that project. This project never proceeded and the CPO expired in 2012 which allowed the Rates main dealership operations to stay firmly situated in Hogg Lane.

    Rates also own the land which is currently occupied by the Esso fuel station opposite the main dealership.

    Rates have a Customer Viewpoint score of 96 percent and have won the Ford Chairman’s award for the last 9 years for customer satisfaction.

    Rates enjoy a strong working relationship with Ford and as a business partner and approve franchise dealer. Ford are very instrumental in how we run the business and look after our joint customers to ensure the dealer network gives the very best service to our customers and a superior experience to remember.

    We have recently invested over £100k in new showroom and service furniture which is part of the new Ford Retail Look and Style ensuring we comply with the latest standards and modern designs to reflect the vehicles we sell.

    We are also a Ford Direct dealer which is the Ford approved and supplied used car arm of the company.

    Ford have just launched Quick Lane, a replacement to Rapid Fit, to which Rates are one of five pilots in the UK. This is for all makes of vehicles and provides services like tyre fitting, exhausts and servicing while you wait.

    Rates have also invested in the latest state of the art Hunter wheel alignment equipment that allows us to check the total car alignment within a couple of minutes. Over the last 12 months we have invested in excess of 100k in building this new operation. This is all part of our continued investment to give the very best of service and customer satisfaction.

    We would like to think Rates is a progressive and dynamic company willing to invest in its business that serves Thurrock and the surrounding areas. As a family run business of over 60 years, we still very much commit to our original company slogan as the Care Company.

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