Our History at North Brothers Ford in Westland, MI
Throughout the years North Brothers has been a part of the automotive industry in Michigan, and we are proud to call Westland, MI our home for our Ford Dealership. Although our business has changed over the years, one thing remains the same, our commitment to offer excellent customer service and quality products.
The original North Brothers, Raymond and Ernest, opened a Mobil service station together on Fort Street in Lincoln Park, Michigan in 1928. They were awarded a Desoto/Plymouth franchise in June of 1936, the same year that Gulf Oil replaced Mobil, and they began selling new cars and trucks. Their success in selling new vehicles resulted in Ford Motor Company offering them a very desirable and exclusive new car franchise in 1941. In the early years, they sold Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury vehicles as well as being Lincoln and Mercury distributors for southeast Michigan.
The War Years and North Brothers
During the war years, the North's converted their auto dealership into a precision machine shop and manufactured airplane parts for the war effort. Following the war, they launched several more expansion projects. Newcomers to Lincoln Park had no trouble locating North Brothers, especially at night. Atop the main building was a huge neon sign that was one of the city's early landmarks.
They became a Ford dealer exclusively in 1945. In May of 1949, they acquired a second Ford franchise and opened up a dealership called Ray North Ford on Woodward Avenue in Ferndale, Michigan. The two dealerships operated simultaneously for nine years.
The 60's and Beyond
The Lincoln Park dealership was sold in September of 1964, after Ernest North retired, leaving only the Garden City location. Raymond North retired in 1968 when James E. North purchased the business. The dealership thrived and became one of the highest-volume Ford dealerships in Metropolitan Detroit. During this time, it even boasted the largest service department in the state!
Eventually the dealership outgrew its building and property. Construction began in 1968 on what is now the current location on Ford Road in Westland, Michigan, (just one mile west of its Garden City location). The company moved into the new building in April of 1969.
In March of 1987, James E. North's son J. Douglas joined the company as the business manager. In the four years prior to joining North Brothers, Douglas worked for two other dealerships in sales and business management. He is a graduate of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and is currently the company's President and General Manager.
In August of 1990, James E. North's other son Thomas joined the company as the business manager. In the eight years prior to joining North Brothers, Thomas established a successful career in the ski industry in Utah and Colorado. He, too, is a graduate of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and is currently the company's Vice President and General Sales Manager. The day-to-day operations are managed by J. Douglas and Thomas North, with James E. North holding the position of Chairman.
In June of 1998, the company began a significant remodeling of the entire facility. Completed in March of 1999, the new facility clearly distinguishes itself in the industry as a true original. Anchored by the new vehicle showroom rotunda, its appearance is striking from any angle.
The North family and North Brothers Ford continues to maintain very strong ties to the local community and are very active in local charities and various civic groups.