A CAR dealership has had to close after the recession left little demand for luxury motors.
The Paul Cummings dealership, on Peterlee’s North West Industrial Estate, opened two-and-a-half years ago, having previously spent five-and-half years trading at Pennywell, in Sunderland.
Mr Cummings, 51, said he was “devastated” at the loss of the dealership and blamed the recession affecting people being able to afford, and get credit for, luxury cars such as Bentleys and Ferraris.
He said: “I just think at this moment in time, luxury cars are costing people a lot of money.
“They struggle to try and keep them going and, in the current climate, with people being laid off and losing jobs, they are not wanting to show or display their wealth by having specialist cars.
“It’s purely down to the economic climate.
“We have not gone into receivership. We found it better to close the business down.”
Mr Cummings said he will continue trading, under the name PAC Motor Company, but from his home in Tyne and Wear and via a website that will be launched in two weeks.
He appeared in the Echo last year when was selling football legend Sir Bobby Robson’s Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph for an undisclosed sum.
Mr Cummings is still in possession of the classic car, and says he has two interested buyers.
At its peak, the dealership had 12 staff, but more recently six people worked at the business and Mr Cummings had to lay them off.
He said: “I’m devastated at the fact we had to close.
“We had a lot of good customers and I’ve had many phone calls from people saying ‘I’m really sorry’ and ‘where do we go now and get good service?’.
“At the end of the day, the problem I had is there wasn’t enough of them to even the books up.”
He said he was looking forward to his new web-based venture.
“I’m confident it will succeed,” he added. “I have gone back to basics.
“I think the majority of people purchase cars online. The days of having a big garage have been replaced by people researching cars online.”
The dealership, which is owned by Mr Cummings, is up for sale. He says he has already received a number of inquiries.