Commer was a British manufacturer of commercial vehicles which existed from 1905 until 1979. Commer vehicles included car derived vans, light vans, medium to heavy commercial trucks, military vehicles and buses. The Commer brand was exported widely, with examples, albeit collectors' vehicles, still running far from the UK manufacturing base.[citCommer designed and built its own diesel engine for its heavy commercial vehicles.
The company was formed as the Commercial Car Company based in small premises in Lavender Hill, South London. In order to go into volume production a site was bought at Biscot Road, Biscot, Luton, where production of the first truck, the 3 ton RC type started in 1907. In 1909 the first bus was made. With the outbreak of First World War the factory turned to the manufacture of military vehicles for the British Army and by 1919 over 3000 had been made.
In 1926, after being in receivership several times, Commer was taken over by Humber, which in 1931 became part of the Rootes Group.
The Commer name was replaced by the Dodge name during the 1970s following the takeover of Rootes by Chrysler Europe. After Peugeot purchased Chrysler Europe in 1978, the Commer factory was run in partnership with the truck division of Renault, Renault Trucks. It continued to produce the Dodge commercial truck range for some time, with Renault badges and a small amount of product development, eventually these were cancelled in favour of mainstream Renault models and switching production at the factory to production of Renault truck and bus engines in the early 1990s.
Many Commer vans and lorries are notable for being fitted with the Rootes TS3 engine, a two-stroke diesel three-cylinder horizontally-opposed piston engine, which came to be known as the "Commer Knocker" due to the unique noise it produced. Newer Commer vehicles had Perkins and Cummins diesel engines, and less commonly Mercedes diesel engines.
Commer acquired the Karrier company as part of Rootes acquisition of Karrier in 1934. In 1965 production moved to Dunstable where Commer, Dodge (UK) and Karrier were all brought together.
The Karrier trademark is owned by Peugeot.