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Our history

The rise of the leading van hire company.

In 1981, Alan Noble founded the business from his house in Hurworth, Darlington. Through a mixture of organic growth and strategic acquisition we developed throughout the 1980s to become a force to be reckoned with for vehicle hire in the UK.

Our first venture into Europe came in 2001 when Northgate Vehicle Hire Ireland opened. The success of this operation led us to buy two leading rental companies in Spain, Fualsa and Record in the between 2002 and 2006. Further acquisitions in the UK of Arriva and Fleet Technique in 2006 paved the way to create a service offering and infrastructure throughout the UK, Ireland and Spain which has been unrivalled.

Jonathan Pearce, Marketing Manager commented: "We celebrated our 30th anniversary in 2011 and as Northgate Vehicle Hire enters its fourth decade we will be continually aiming to leverage our knowledge and fleet expertise to broaden our customer base across all sizes of public and private sector organisations, but particularly in the SME (small and medium enterprise) market."

"Fleets want stability and sustainability. The marketplace is undergoing tremendous upheaval but that is presenting increased business opportunities for Northgate Vehicle Hire."

"We are building on extremely solid foundations and focusing on continuing to make the right decisions that will see us offer services to businesses for a further 30 years and longer."

Brief Timeline

  • 1981 Alan Noble purchased six vehicles to hire to customers before going on to expand his fleet to 50 and establishing Noble Van & Plant Hire Ltd.
  • 1986 Northgate Motor Holdings Ltd was established as a holding company.
  • 1983 Noble Van & Plant Hire Ltd made their first acquisition, another North East based company called Transmore Van Hire. They went on to acquire further small and successful businesses around the UK and Republic of Ireland over the next 24 years.
  • 1987 At the peak of its growth as a limited company, they were acquired by Goode Durrant plc for 4.2million.
  • 1989 Northgate Vehicle Sales was established, and following its success, Van Monster, the premium sales channel, was launched in 2004.
  • 1999 Goode Durrant announced that it would be relocating from the City of London to the North East following the company's decision to change its name to Northgate Plc.
  • 2000 The name changed from Northgate Motor Holdings to Northgate Vehicle Hire Ltd.
  • 2001 Northgate purchases a 'green field' site in the Republic of Ireland and builds its first hire depot outside of the UK.
  • 2002-2006 Northgate plc expanded into Europe through the acquisition of Fualsa, one of the largest van rental companies in Spain and Record Rent-a-Car.
  • 2003 Northgate Vehicle Solutions was launched within the head office to serve customers who had national daily rental needs and required a single point of contact.
  • 2006 A restructure was completed within the hire business with locations merging. Fleet Technique Limited (a specialist fleet management business) was also acquired.
  • 2010 The whole company rebranded to 'Northgate Vehicle Hire' with the project delivering new signage, livery, reception areas, stationery and work wear across all sites.
  • 2011 30th Anniversary of Northgate Plc.
  • 2011 A brand new super site was launched in Grantham.
  • 2011 Northgate opened a new £2.5 million van hire and Van Monster site in Cannock.
  • 2012 Northgate launched a new site at Limerick.
  • 2012 Northgate Vehicle Hire sites at Snodland and Milton Keynes sites were refurbished as part of Northgate's £500,000 infrastructure investment.
  • 2012 Northgate was awarded the internationally recognised 14001 accreditation.
  • 2012 A new vehicle hire depot was opened in Cork.
  • 2012 Northgate won Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Occupational Health and Safety Gold Award.