Hawick car dealers Bruce Motors set to shut up shop

Bruce Motors, Hawick
Bruce Motors, Hawick

Nine jobs will go at long-established Bruce Motors in Hawick when the firm shuts up shop for the final time at the end of the year.

Four-times winners of the Peugeot Gold Lion dealer award and other franchise accolades, the car dealership on Commercial Road will cease trading on December 31, ending 80 years of family involvement in the motor trade.

The three directors , Stewart and Michael Bruce and Riddell Laidlaw, made the decision partly due to manufacturer demands, with Peugeot requiring them to undertake a costly revamp of the premises, last done in 2011.

“As the three directors are all over retirement age, it was felt time to call it a day,” said Stewart Bruce.

“Bruce Motors can look back with pride on their 37 years with Peugeot. Many people have been employed over the years and all have made a valued contribution to the company and clients’ motoring satisfaction – too many to list, but too many not to appreciate. Thank you all.”

The directors say that the members of staff affected will be “very employable” due to their motor trade experience.

He added: “Ross Oliver (Gus) our master technician has decided to set up his own garage and has secured premises in Slitrig Crescent in the former Water Board workshops, where his 15 years of Peugeot training and knowledge will mean all our customers can enjoy service continuity from a highly-qualified engineer.”

Little did Jack Bruce know way back in the mid 1930s when he came down from Edinburgh by train to take up a car sales position with A & J Guthrie at 61 High Street, Hawick, that some 82 years later a business bearing his name would be operational in the grey auld toon.

On returning to Hawick after war service in the RAF, Jack was made a partner at Guthries in the mid 1950s, and on the death of his senior partner Archie Guthrie in 1963 he worked to buy his late partner’s share of the firm. A bachelor, Archie had no children and his nephew, Jimmy Guthrie junior, left the town for employment elsewhere.

In 1972, Jack’s sons Michael and Stewart came into the business, and along with Riddell Laidlaw, ran the then Chrysler/Talbot franchise at 61 High Street. Peugeot Motor Co bought Chrysler in 1976 to create the PSA group and in 1981 Peugeot cars were introduced alongside the Talbot range in Hawick.

The increasingly congested High Street encouraged the firm to relocate to Commercial Road, where they had a storage yard.

In 1988 the High Street premises were sold and a new dealership was built on their Commercial Road site, with another garage purchased in Galashiels, so there were two Peugeot dealerships in the two main Border towns which were rebranded Bruce Motors Peugeot.