Rising operational costs and shrinking margins have been blamed for the closure of a car sales, service and parts operation run by Crawley Down Group for 80 years.
Bosses at the family run business said in a statement that they had tried to find a buyer for the Skoda, Seat and Fiat dealer but found that planning constraints had seen a keen party back out of a deal for the service station and car sales centre in Snow Hill, Copthorne.
The East Grinstead Courier reported that up to 50 people could lose their jobs as part of the closure.
A company statement said: “After 80 years of serving the local community it’s with sadness to confirm that the car sales, service and parts operations of Crawley Down Group will be closing.
“In recent years our operational costs have spiralled upwards and competitive prices have seen our margins shrink year after year, ultimately leading to unsustainable losses.
“We have tried to find a buyer for these parts of the business, however, the only interested parties required planning consent for two showrooms close to the service centre. When it became clear that our planning application was going to be turned down we were left with no alternative but to consider the heart-breaking decision to close these departments.
“A final closing date has yet to be announced, but while we clear our used and nearly new stock there will be bargains to be had, so please do pop in and see what we can offer.
“For any customers who have purchased a vehicle from us any warranty period will still be valid. If new or nearly new, please visit the appropriate manufacturer’s website, which will list alternative dealers in the area, along with those who will be able to service and repair your car. For those with a CDG Used Car warranty, this is transferable, just visit any VAT registered repair centre and show them proof of your warranty.
“Our other business, APH (Airport Parking and Hotels) continues to operate successfully, as will our 24-hour Shell garage at Snow Hill and accident repair centre in Crawley.
“Although a sad time for such a large part of the business, for staff and the family owners alike, on behalf of all of us, we would like to say thank you for your custom and we have enjoyed our time serving all our customers. We hope to continue to do so through our remaining business activities.”