MONTHS after it was announced a Basingstoke car dealership had gone into liquidation causing hundreds of jobs to be lost, a new group has taken over the Ford branch of its garages – offering 30 new jobs.

Think Ford, pictured, a subsidiary branch of Group 1 Automotive – America’s third largest automotive retailer, has confirmed “it’s business-as-usual” at the old Gowrings Ford at the Houndmills Estate site, off Aldermaston Road South. 

The company, which has four other Ford branches in the south including at Wokingham and Farnborough, will operate as normal following successful plans to take over the site just over three weeks ago.

In September, The Gazette told how City Motor Holdings, the company which originally ran the car dealership, went into liquidation, with administrators citing “poor trade” as its reason for closing.

Nearly 300 people were made redundant.

Speaking exclusively to The Gazette, Ford franchise manager Paul Hayes explained Think Ford had invested £60,000 to upgrade the facility.

“For me it’s about seeing the employees faces,” Mr Hayes said. “In September they all faced the prospect of redundancy, so being able to offer 30 jobs to people in the area, including former employees, is important to us as a business.

“Every time I come into the building and see the people, their smiles get bigger. It’s been tough for them, but we believe in the staff and believe this place will be great once again.”

He added: “We will be writing to old Ford customers to explain the changes here and to welcome back to the business and the branch.”

Think Ford joins Snows Group in taking over old CMH sites.

In October, Snows announced it had opened Snows Citroën, Snows DS, and Snows Peugeot at the site and has re-hired more than 30 former employees of CMH.

“It’s a long-term lease that’s been signed, which shows our commitment to the site moving forward,” Mr Hayes said.

“There’s been huge investment within the building. It compliments Think Ford’s focus on doing the best for our customers. If we look after our staff, they will look after our customers.”

“For us it’s business as usual and we want to welcome all the customers back to join us again. This is a great location and it has an exciting future.”

Think Ford, who are set to open another branch in Newbury next week, are still looking for employees to join its new team in Basingstoke.