A CAR dealer has driven £5.8million into its new showroom, creating 45 new jobs.
Eight months of construction work has been completed at Benfield in Newcastle Road, with a permanent building now replacing a temporary “pop up” showroom put on the plot last January.
The development, built on former council land, makes it one of the largest Ford dealerships in the region.
Jobs created by the new branch sees sales, service and technician roles filled.
Mark Squires, Benfield’s chief executive, said, “We are delighted with this impressive new Ford development and to be again flying the flag so brightly for Ford in Sunderland.
“The Ford brand is steeped in tradition and 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 construct and has also created 45 jobs, and is a tremendous example of the Benfield and Ford brands working together, to provide a world-class retail experience with unrivalled customer service.”
The new showroom has space for 12 cars displaying the full Ford range and the development includes a workshop with the latest diagnostics technology.
There is also space for more than 80 used cars on the site and the dealership will provide a full aftersales service with customer car parking.
The dealership also boasts a Transit Van centre and business user facilities. The first customer through the door was former jockey Patrick Hurley, who travelled from Newcastle to buy a Fiesta.
He was presented with dinner for two at former Seaham Hall chef and Michelin star winner, Kenny Atkinson’s new House of Tides restaurant.
Terry O’Neil, general manager of Benfield Ford, Sunderland, said: “We are all very excited about the opening of the new dealership and very proud to be working in such a fantastic development.
“We pride ourselves on customer service and wanted to do something special for the first customer to pick up their car on the opening day.”
The Benfield Motor Group, which was founded in the region in 1957, employs more than 1,500 staff and has 34 outlets throughout the North East of England, Yorkshire, Cumbria and South West Scotland, across a portfolio 16 car retail brands.