Anniversary expansion for car dealership

A CAR dealership business is celebrating a major expansion as it approaches its 25th anniversary. Businessman Gerry Wiggins has just bought two new car dealership garages in Colchester and Sudbury, bringing the number of Underwoods-branded sites to seven, with 11 franchises in total selling Vauxhall, Peugeot, Ford, Mazda, Skoda and Renault cars.

A CAR dealership business is celebrating a major expansion as it approaches its 25th anniversary.

Businessman Gerry Wiggins has just bought two new car dealership garages in Colchester and Sudbury, bringing the number of Underwoods-branded sites to seven, with 11 franchises in total selling Vauxhall, Peugeot, Ford, Mazda, Skoda and Renault cars.

The two sites were bought from the East of England Co-operative Society.

The sale of the former Sterling Garage in Wimpole Road, Colchester, which operates as a Peugeot dealership was completed in Jaunary, while the sale of the Sterling Garage in Cornard Road, Sudbury, went through in February.

The Sudbury garage represents Mr Wiggins' first foray out of Essex and into Suffolk.

All employees have been kept on, and the Wimpole Road dealership has undergone a major refurbishment, in spite of the intention to eventually relocate it to a two-and-a-half acre site on Ipswich Road.

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Mr Wiggins said he wanted to retain the business's core values.

“I want us above all to remain a family business, small enough to care but large enough to exist, invest and improve,” he said.

“We have grown the business around strong central support and it is important to me that we do not lose these core values of care and commitment just for the sake of size.”

Kevin Wilsher, a partner at Ellisons Solicitors, who advised Mr Wiggins on the two deals, said he was an “inspirational” businessman.

“Gerry is an inspirational example of a local businessman with strong vision and the determination to see the dream through to reality,” he said.

“Ellisons is delighted to have worked with him and Underwoods for so many years and is particularly impressed with these latest acquisitions which will provide the company with the necessary momentum and spread to be recognised as a truly leading name in the motor trade.”

Underwoods, which has branches in Colchester, Tiptree, West Mersea, Clacton and Sudbury, sells new and used vehicles, including vans, as well as carrying out servicing, body shop repairs, and selling parts and accessories. It employs 250 staff, many of whom have been with the company since it started.