A WELL-KNOWN Darlington motor dealer has launched a new era following the multi-million-pound acquisitions of two prominent family businesses.

Sherwoods has announced the purchase of Springfield Motor Group – incorporating Peugeot, Citroen and Suzuki franchises at Gateshead – alongside Durham Peugeot.

The businesses will be rebranded as Sherwoods Gateshead and Sherwoods Durham, with partners describing the deal as the “first chapter” in the creation of a Sherwoods group of motor dealers across the region.

Sherwoods, which was established as a family business in the 1920s, sold its Vauxhall sites in Darlington, Stockton and Northallerton to the Drive Group last September.

Sherwoods managing director Simon MacConachie, son of "Mr Darlington" Alasdair MacConanchie, promised at the time that the long-established company name would live on with investments made in other businesses.

He said: “We are delighted to have fulfilled that pledge by acquiring two cracking businesses, and working with great manufacturing partners, in superb locations in the North-East.”

The deal also includes a large mechanical workshop, bodyshop and used car outlet on Washington’s Crowther Industrial Estate, which will be run as a separate business called Sherwoods Car Store.

The combined business expects to have a turnover of £65m a year and secures the jobs of 120 employees.

Mr MacConachie said: “This is the first chapter – we would love to work with other brands, and discussions about further opportunities are continuing. We would particularly like to return the Sherwoods name to the south of the region where we are so well known.

“This is an exciting time to be involved with Peugeot because they are at a high point in the cycle of their product range, and their attitude towards the dealer network is impressive.”

Peugeot recently came top in the famous JD Power survey of owners for being the most reliable brand.

Mr MacConachie is also thrilled to be working with Suzuki and Citroen as an integral part of the new business.

He said: “Suzuki are renowned for their reliability and the ‘family feel’ they like their customers to experience. This fits perfectly with our family business culture. Citroen has also got some exciting products coming through and we are excited to be working with them for the first time.”