started out on its long history manufacturing bicycles.
Unlike all its early contemporaries in Coventry, the
Dennis brothers set up shop in the county town of
Guildford within easy striking distance of London.
From motor bicycles to tricycles before the turn of the century, Dennis Brothers turned its attention to cars and then, in 1904, to commercial vehicles.
The Dennis patent worm-drive axle brought silence, efficiency and reliability to trucks and buses for the first time: this feature helped to make Dennis one of the largest heavy vehicles makers in the First World War and the years that followed.
From 1913 all production was to be concentrated on commercial vehicles, buses and fire appliances.
Dennis' early interest in fire engines soon developed and it established a reputation as an important supplier in this field that has been retained to the present day. Although Dennis cars were discontinued in the Great War, the firm quickly became one of the largest British producers of military trucks.
The White & Poppe engine factory was taken over in 1918.
By the late 1920s the firm was undoubtedly Britain's most successful producer of trucks.
The first appliances and municipal vehicles that had been a natural sideline to the truck business from the early 1920s stood Dennis in good stead through the lean years of the 1930s.
During the Second World War, Dennis built thousands of trucks, tanks, trailer pumps and specialist vehicles in fact 7,000 trailer pumps and 700 35 ton Churchill tanks were built.
After the war, Dennis managed to avoid the recession that hit all its rivals by building high quality, but competitively priced trucks and buses.
When production recommenced it was clear that Dennis would regain its traditional position in the bus, fire and truck markets, with the introduction of new models. Large orders for new buses from the local operator Aldershot and District Traction Company were significant in achieving this.
Then after the relatively lean years from 1966 to 1972 came the take-over by the Hestair Group, who also owned Yorkshire Vehicles and Eagle Engineering.
With new management and drastic economies Dennis survived and started the spectacular recovery that brought it back into the truck, bus and coach fields with a range of vehicles neatly fitted into niches left by the giant international motor firms both in Britain and in many export territories.
The company was taken over by Trinity Holdings in 1989 and became part of the Mayflower Group in 1998.
Today Dennis remain in Guildford, functioning from a new 40,000 m2, purpose built facility. Operations focus on the manufacture of bus, coach and fire appliance chassis with complete after sales service, parts and technical support
World wide export markets include Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, the Middle East, South Africa and Hong Kong.
Dennis manufacture chassis only and sell direct to end-users, such as public and private transport undertakings, fire brigades, as well as bodybuilders and distributors.
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