AS PENDRAGON, which owns North-east dealerships Reg Vardy and Evans Halshaw, warned it was likely to make a £30m loss this year as sales of new and used cars plummeted, Teesport became an unexpected beneficiary of the crisis on the high street, taking delivery of 1,200 Nissans cars that no one wanted.
Deep sea carrier, the 46,346t Euro Spirit’s cargo of 1,243 cars built in Japan and destined for St Petersburg, Russia, was diverted from the Port of Tyne because falling motor sales meant there was no room to store them.
Instead, they were parked at Teesport from where they will be re-shipped to Russia in the next few weeks.
Compounding disastrous official statistics for new car registrations last week, which dropped to their lowest level in nearly 20 years, Pendragon said it had made 2,500 jobs redundant over the past 12 months - equivalent to 20% of its workforce.
It also expected that 75 of its dealerships will have closed between June 2007 and the end of this year.
The company said the actions it had taken, combined with recent interest rate cuts, made it hopeful of a recovery next year.