Published: 14:00, 12 January 2018
| Updated: 14:59, 12 January 2018
A family-owned car dealership has been acquired by a rival in the county for an undisclosed sum.
Hidsons Group, which has showrooms in Northfleet and Rainham, has been taken over by JCB Group, adding to its seven dealerships in Kent and Sussex.
It adds KIA, Citroen, Mitsubishi and SsangYong to its new owner’s franchise partners, bringing its total to nine.
Hidsons, which employs about 110 people, was founded in 1954 by Bill Hidson and has been run by his son Nigel since the late 1980s.
Managing director Nigel said: “Obviously, it’s not without some regrets that we are closing the book on so many years of history by selling our business to the JCB Group and it’s not a step that’s been taken lightly.
“However, we are confident that our sale to JCB Group will continue both our business ethos and at the same time protect the interests of our staff.
“In these circumstances, therefore, it’s a step that we are pleased to take."
The sale means JCB now employs more than 500 people at the Hidsons sites and its previous showrooms in Ashford, Gillingham, Sittingbourne, Crawley, Worthing, Brighton and Eastbourne.
The company was founded as a Volkswagen dealership 19 years ago by Jonathan Bischoff and has sold more htan 120,000 vehicles since then.
Mr Bischoff said: “We are delighted to have acquired this respected and long-established family business and look forward to the challenges of extending our business.
“Key attractions for us are the cultural fit and more choice for our customers.
“Hidsons Group have remained successful dealers for 65 years due to its ongoing philosophy of offering the highest quality and service to their customers.
“This fits well with the JCB Group and while we’ve grown hugely over the years, as a family owned business ourselves, the focus has always been on looking after our customers and offering reliable vehicles which are value-for-money, as well as offering a localised, personalised service and approachable and knowledgeable staff.
“We are committed to preserving and nurturing this culture as well as putting in place new initiatives which allows the Hidsons sites to benefit from our larger scale and investments we have made.
“I would like to take this opportunity to welcome all of the employees of Hidsons to the wider JCB Group family and look forward to the group developing its increasing driving force within the motoring industry.”
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