A FLAGSHIP multimillion pound car showroom is to be built in Sunderland.
Benfield Motor Group has announced it will create a major new £5million Ford dealership in Newcastle Road.
And aerial lift firm Snorkel has announced 50 new posts at its Washington factory.
The Benfield move follows the acquisition of the Jennings Ford passenger car franchise in Riverside Road, Wessington Way.
The new franchise is already open for business, with the development in Newcastle Road creating at least 45 jobs.
The company has five Ford dealerships in Yorkshire. Bosses are delighted with the plans, which they see as a “real coup”.
Benfield added four sites to its portfolio with the purchase of North East Audi.
Chief executive Mark Squires said: “We are delighted to announce this significant development and expansion of our Ford territory. The proposed state-of-the-art showroom is due to be fully operational by next January and we already have a temporary showroom and service centre in place.
“Moving into Sunderland with Ford is a natural geographic fit for Benfield and we are very much looking forward to building and developing the Benfield brand and reputation in Wearside.”
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The new development will include 14-car showroom, service and repair centre.
Staff at the Jennings Ford site in Riverside Road have transferred over.
A temporary showroom, operated by Benfield, will open in Newcastle Road on May 1.
l Wearside is set for another jobs boost, with aerial lift manufacturer Snorkel creating 50 new posts at its Washington plant.
The firm is hiring assembly workers and expanding its apprentice programme.
Parent company The Tanfield Group had previously been forced to reduce its workforce as the recession had a severe impact on the industry.
Group Operations Director Brendan Campbell said: “After talking to our key customers, our build plan for 2012 calls for up to a 50 per cent growth in our assembly workforce between now and September.
“This will be a gradual process as we ramp up production in line with demand.”
The firm employs 97 and is looking to take on another 50.
“Principally we will be employing production operatives for our assembly lines, but we are also taking on three new apprentices as we build for the future,” said Mr Campbell.