Mutual respect and reward. The Stillwell Motor Group has been built on a strong set of company and family values, and this focus remains its foundation as the organization continues to successfully navigate the changing modern automotive industry.
Since 1949, the Stillwell Motor Group (SMG) has treated its customers, business partners and employees with respect. In return, it has become one of the most respected names in the Australian automotive industry.
Its mission remains to reward customers with an exceptional automotive experience, employees with opportunities to grow, and business partners with mutually beneficial relationships. In delivering these goals, SMG has been rewarded with a strong reputation, longevity and a solid foundation for continued success.
Today, SMG employs more than 250 people across seven award-winning dealerships including BMW, Volvo and MINI. SMG also owns and operates an aftersales businesses, SMG Part based in Mentone.
From little things…
Stillwell Motor Group began as a one-person operation in 1949, started by Bib Stillwell while still only in his early 20’s. After selling MG’s and Jaguar’s, Bib opened a Holden dealership before switching to Ford in 1966. He was also a Beechcraft and Learjet aircraft distributor, flying Learjets into Darwin after Cyclone Tracy in 1974.
In the late 1970s, the father of five moved much of his family from Melbourne to the US, where he became Gates Learjet Corporation President, before returning to Melbourne in the 1989 and adding Silverstone Jaguar in Melbourne and Honda and Toyota dealerships in Sydney.
While building his business, Bib also had a successful career as an open wheel racing driver, including driving at Le Mans and the Australian Grand Prix and being named Australian Formula 1 Gold Star Champion four years running before retiring from racing in 1965.
Bib also had ambitions for his children to join him in the family business, and today the second and third generation of the Stillwell family continues to display the work ethic and drive that were hallmarks of Bib’s approach.
When Bib died in 1999, his son Chris became CEO of the Stillwell Motor Group and, with his siblings, continued Bib’s legacy of a strong family business that gives back to the community.
…And looking forward
While retaining its significant family connection, the company has recognised the need to modernise its governance structure. Since 2014, the Stillwell Family Board has overseen Stillwell Family investment decisions and governance, while the Stillwell Motor Group Board, which has extensive experience in automotive and other industries, has focused solely on operational issues and business performance.
Since 2014, the Stillwell Family Board has overseen Stillwell Family investment decisions and governance, while the Stillwell Motor Group Board, which has extensive experience in automotive and other industries, has focused solely on operational issues and business performance. This modernised structure gives the operational business a consistent and strategic focus while allowing the transition to multi-generation family custodianship.
The move also gives SMG a secure base to achieve its vision to be the most successful and highly respected privately-owned automotive group in Australia providing outstanding automotive related sales and services in a rewarding work environment, and generating the returns required to grow the business.
SMG combines strong community links through Ronald McDonald House, education, and dealer sponsorships, with clearly articulated family values. SMG is in a solid position to build on its first 65 years of operation and to remain a professional and successful modern business.
Click here for Gillian Stillwell’s memorial page>
Click here to find out more about Family Board >
Click here to find out more about Operational Board >