Ray and Rita Lally purchased a small BA service and fuel station in Comber, Ontario, and Lally Sales and Service Ltd. was born. They immediately set a high standard for how their customers would be treated when doing business with their family. Ray Lally believed in hard work and doing the right thing. The gas station was always a true family business; Rita did the books and kept things in line while all of their 6 children pumped gas and cleaned up the shop.
One of Lally's first foray's into the new car business was with The Henry J. The car was the idea of Henry J. Kaiser, who's goal was to attract "less affluent buyers who could only afford a used car" and the attempt became a pioneering American compact car. A car that was way before its time and achieved 35 mpg with a 4 cylinder engine. Unfortunately for the Henry J, this was at a time where fuel was cheap and large heavy cars ruled the road.
By the late 70's Ray's son Vince had joined the business full time as a licensed mechanic. He was excited and interested in growing. In 1977 he saw an article in a trade magazine that Subaru (a Japanese company that had some innovated four wheel drive technology) was coming to Canada and looking for franchisees. Vince called and talked to a person at the company who was moving into their new Canadian Headquarters in Vancouver that day. Lally Subaru became one of the first Subaru dealers in Canada. That year Subaru launched the "Brat" a small pickup that was an instant hit. People drove from all over to get a Subaru in Comber.
In the early 80's the Ford dealer in nearby Tilbury had given up the franchise. Looking for a new dealer, a couple representatives from Ford stopped in to see Ray. Not seeing a need to shift the business, Ray hurried them out the door, but as they got into their car to leave, Vince came out in his coveralls and mentioned that he'd be interested in having a chat. Vince was able to convince his parents and Ford of Canada to give it a shot, and soon after Lally Ford was born, selling 1983 model year new Ford vehicles.
The service first mentality that the Lally family business was built on led to consistent sales growth throughout the 80's and 90's. Customers routinely drove from Windsor and Chatham to experience the difference. The old building in Comber had been renovated until it was bursting at the seems; it was time to move. So, in 1994 Vince purchased land in Tilbury across from Gary Mackie Chev/Olds and Andre Lanoue Pontiac Buick GMC. He also purchased the Chrysler franchise in Tilbury and built Tilbury Chrysler (which was sold over time to his operating partner). Finally, in 1995, the new state-of-the-art Lally Ford facility opened its doors at its current location and the Tilbury Auto Mall was born.
Just up the road from the Tilbury Auto Mall, at a property that previously was home to the Lally Ford Used Car lot, Mill West Auto Sales was opened. A few years later it moved a little further up the road and became Lakeshore Auto which sells high quality, late model used vehicles of all makes and models that are reconditioned to the highest standards. Lakeshore operates a full detail and tinting shop as well.
In 2007, Lally Southpoint Ford opened in Leamington at the recently constructed former home of Gossen Ford on highway 3. Vince's son Adam had joined the family business at this point and the tradition of customer service began again in a new town. Lally Southpoint Ford is a full service branch in a growing market. It is the most “South” Ford dealership in Canada and is also a short drive to “Point” Pelee Provincial Park.
The opportunity to grow and also bring the Lincoln luxury brand into the fold came up in 2010, as Victory Ford Lincoln was acquired. Chatham was a new and exciting market for Lally but also a familiar one. New processes and a growing team led to immediate results. The facility at 370 Richmond was the original historic Sandy Elliot Lincoln/Mercury/Meteor location but a change was needed.
In the summer of 2011 construction on a brand new, world class facility was completed and Victory Ford and Victory Lincoln moved across the street and down the road to their new home. This building was a huge step up in size and amenities for staff and customers, allowing Victory to provide the highest levels of customer service. In 2010 Victory's tag line "Driving Your Community" was unveiled to represent the renewed commitment to supporting the community of Chatham Kent; a pillar of Victory's mission ever since.
Then in 2012, going outside of the Ford umbrella, the Lally’s opened Lally Kia at the former John Gibbons Pontiac (then Kia) location just up the road on Richmond Street in Chatham. By this time Adam, Vince’s son, had taken a larger role in the business and was passionate about the opportunities for growth in the local car market. Chatham embraced the Kia brand and its new and exciting vehicles.
The Lally Auto Group expanded again with the acquisitions of Chatham Chrysler and Chatham Mazda. Showroom renovations at Chatham Chrysler began immediately and in the years since improvements to the lot and building have continued. The facility now better represents the great cars and team members inside. Vehicles lines like Jeep and RAM immediately complimented the offerings and Mopar was officially back in the fold.
Mazda's impressive line up of vehicles and culture of passion fit perfectly in the Lally Auto Group. The Chatham Mazda facility was both new, and located in a perfect spot on Richmond street. The Lally Auto Group now represents eight brands in three towns Zoom Zoom.
The next opportunity was very close to home as Lanoue Chevrolet, across the street from Lally Ford and one of the long time partners in the Tilbury Auto Mall, was brought into the Group in 2019. A strong customer service philosophy was in place and the facility was well suited to growth. Lally Chevrolet was the new name and it was a unique chance to be able to offer the Chevrolet brand in a market that was very familiar to the Lally family.
Two of the area's oldest and most respected Dealership families come together as the Lally's form a partnership with the Reaume family at Reaume Chevrolet Buick GMC. Craig Reaume becomes Dealer Principal and Jenn Reaume General Manager. Together with Adam and Vince Lally they look to continue the growth of business and the "Tradition of Trust" that has been in place for generations in LaSalle. With Buick and GMC, Lally Auto Group now represents eleven brands and enters the Windsor market.