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Expansion drive for used-car sales firm

The North-East’s largest independent used-car supermarket is driving forward ambitious plans to almost quadruple in size and create a £40m business by the end of next year.

Just days after budget motor dealer CarShock collapsed, Newcastle-based Henson Motor Group – which has been in business for almost a decade – is revving ahead with plans for two new car supermarkets in the region, creating 60 jobs.

Henson, which is headquartered on a 2.5 acre site opposite the Asda hypermarket on Whitley Road, Benton, says the move will see it open a showroom near the Tyne Tunnel, North Tyneside, and another on Teeside.

It expects the expansion to boost sales from around £13m currently to £40m by the end of 2008 and grow its workforce from 40 to 100 by the end of this year.

The company, which was founded – and is still run by – joint managing directors David Wilson and John Muckian, who have 35 years of experience between them, will then turn its attention to fulfilling the final part of its five-year plan – to open two outlets across the border in Scotland.

Mr Wilson said: “We have been working on this expansion for the last two and a half years, we haven’t just said  ‘lets go big’ overnight.

“Our financial director (Graham Ord) came along from a blue chip company (Lancaster Group plc) and brought experience with him and we have also put 10 years of hard work into laying down the groundwork.

“Every single motor trader that had been and gone has done so because they want overnight success and it doesn’t work that way.

“The motor industry is built on supplying good cars at value for money prices and great customer service but, most of all, on repeat customer.”

Henson aims to have the North Tyneside outlet, which will have room for 100-plus cars and will create 20 jobs, within the next three months, with the 300-car Teeside site creating another 40 positions by the end of the year.

The company, which also operates a three-and-a-half acre “preparation site” at Killingworth, North Tyneside, says it is selling cars across the UK via its website. He said: “The internet has changed the face of new and used car sales in the UK. Ten years ago it was almost unheard of for a customer in Surrey or Wales to buy a car here in the North-East. Now it is an every day occurrence. Two more sites in the region will give us the critical mass necessary to maintain our market position.”