A new Ford dealer group has been launched out of the remains of the former Hancock Southern network, operated by the HMG Group until it went into receivership in March.
Lifestyle Europe Ltd, set up by ex-HMG Group directors Marc Matthew and Peter Isted, this week took control of former Stormont Ford sites in Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge, and the Hancock Ford dealerships in Horsham and Redhill, all of which will come under the new dealer group's Lifestyle Ford banner.
The Stormont Ford parts centre in Vale Road, Tonbridge, also becomes part of the new dealer group, which will cover two of the manufacturer's customer marketing areas (CMAs). More than 360 jobs have been saved by the launch of Lifestyle Ford.
Lifestyle Ford's dealerships will be run by joint managing directors Peter Isted and Marc Matthew, who have set their sights on a projected £100 million turnover from the lucrative sites.
The key part of their strategy includes reclaiming and extending retail business with a combination of “keen” pricing and high standards of customer care, said Mr Isted.
"It is our objective to achieve, and more importantly maintain, the very highest standards of customer service throughout every aspect of our operation," he said.
Mr Matthew added that this important approach often becomes overlooked by companies that allow themselves to become complacent. "These values, though not unique, simply get ignored by companies that become lazy. At Lifestyle Ford, we don't intend to let this happen. We want our customers to remain loyal to us - this is central to Lifestyle Ford's philosophy," said Mr Matthew.
Lifestyle Europe Ltd, the dealer group's holding company, has already set up its own in-house advertising and marketing department to promote the dealerships at local level.