Whitehouse spent 50 years in the motor industry, taking charge of the group in 1957 after the death of his father and founder Bill in a motoring accident. He was responsible for building the group from a one-site operation to a business that peaked at 34 sites and almost £400m turnover in 2004, but preferred to shun publicity.
Peter Reynolds, Whitehouse Group deputy chairman, says: “Brian was respected by his staff and by his peers in the motor industry. He ploughed money back into the business for growth and never took a lavish lifestyle for himself.
“He particularly enjoyed growing the group from its humble beginnings and the relationships he had with the manufacturers.”
Whitehouse is survived by his wife Linda and two daughters, Louise and Emma and their respective families.
They take on a group that represent 11 carmakers, including Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Jeep, Nissan and Renault, from more than 30 outlets, and 1,000 staff.