North East sport celebrities joined the chairman and managing director of the UK arm of car giant Ford when he officially opened Benfield Motor Group’s new £5.8m Ford dealership on Newcastle Road, Sunderland. It is one of the largest Ford dealerships in the North East region.
Mark Ovenden, marked the occasion by unveiling a commemorative plaque and said: “It is a great pleasure for me to come to Sunderland to open Benfield Ford’s new dealership. This significant investment by Mark Squires and his team has a special meaning for me because I appointed Mark’s father John to their first Ford franchise in Leeds over 20 years ago, and it is great to see how they have grown with Ford.”
Mark Squires, Benfield’s chief executive, added: “It is a great honour for us to welcome Mark Ovenden to Sunderland. We are delighted with this impressive new Ford development and to be a strong presence for Ford in Sunderland.
“The Ford brand has a great and successful history in this region. Moving into Sunderland in this way is a natural geographic fit for Benfield and we are very much looking forward to developing and expanding the Benfield brand and reputation in Wearside.
“The development has taken eight months to complete and has also created 45 jobs. It is a tremendous example of the Benfield and Ford brands working together to provide a world-class retail experience with unrivalled customer service.”
Benfield’s relationship with the Ford brand includes four dealerships in West and North Yorkshire and they have been successfully operating a temporary ‘pop-up’ showroom on the Newcastle Road site since the spring of 2012.
The state-of-the-art show room has space for 10 cars and four vans displaying the full Ford range and the development includes a new workshop with the latest diagnostics technology and Class 4 and Class 7 MOT ramps. There is also space for over 80 used cars on the site and the dealership will provide a full aftersales service with plenty of customer car parking.
The dealership also boasts a Transit Van centre and business user facilities catering for the needs of local businesses.
The Benfield Motor Group employs more than 1,500 staff and has 34 retail outlets throughout the North East of England, Yorkshire, Cumbria and South West Scotland across a portfolio 16 car retail brands.
Benfield Motor Group is an independently owned family business founded in Newcastle in 1957 by John Squires Senior and developed by John Squires Junior the present chairman.