A MOTORING giant has confirmed the closure of three of its dealerships in Colchester.

Underwoods shut down its Skoda dealership just under two weeks ago, which was followed by the announcement of the forthcoming closure of its Vauxhall dealership.

Vauxhall has been represented by Underwoods in Colchester for more than 25 years but its showroom, in Autoway, Highwoods, will now close at the end of this month.

Kia, which has been represented in Colchester by Underwoods for over a decade, meanwhile, will also close on April 29, although a different Kia showroom is understood to soon open elsewhere in the city.


Gerry Wiggins, who is the managing director of Underwoods, emphasised the decision was out of the firm’s hands.

He added: “As I am sure you are aware these are changing times within the motor industry, including online sales."

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The changes in the way car manufacturers work with their appointed dealers means Underwoods is moving away from representing manufacturers as their main dealer, instead focusing on used car sales and garage services.

Underwoods will maintain three locations in Clacton, Sudbury and Tiptree, and its boss emphasised it will continue to provide Kia maintenance and warranty repairs to their customers at the Kia authorised location in Clacton.

Mr Wiggins continued: “Underwoods remains a strong, family-run business, totally dedicated to providing support to all drivers.

“We are fortunate to remain with a great team of people working with us, providing an excellent level of customer service. We are as always, here for your driving life.”

No jobs will be lost as a result of the closures.

Mr Wiggins thanked his firm’s loyal customers, saying: “We greatly value our customers, and would like to thank all the Underwoods customers who have been so supportive over the years, returning time and time again for their next vehicle and servicing.”

Gazette: Picture: John Banks GroupPicture: John Banks Group (Image: Newsquest)

Once the Vauxhall dealership managed by Underwoods is cleared out, John Banks Group will move in.

John Banks will offer Honda cars and motorcycles and will also take over the running of the existing Underwoods Mazda dealership.

Its chief executive, Melanie Banks-Browne, said it’s “a great opportunity for [John Banks] to expand [their] presence in the area and provide customers with a great selection of vehicles”.

The new dealership will feature an impressive selection of cars and motorcycles from Honda, including the latest models such as the Civic Type R and Africa Twin Adventure Sports, as well as a wide variety of Mazda vehicles, such as the CX-30 SUV and MX-5 roadster.

Mrs Banks-Browne added: “We are committed to delivering an excellent experience for all our customers.

“Our team is dedicated to helping people find their perfect car or motorcycle at a great price.”

The dealership will also feature state-of-the-art showrooms equipped with interactive displays which allow customers to explore each vehicle in detail before making their purchase decision.

There will also be a full service department available for any necessary maintenance or repairs that may arise after purchase.

Mark Banks, the managing director, said: “At John Banks Group we strive to provide an enjoyable customer experience regardless of if you're looking for a new car or need routine maintenance on your current vehicle.”

As part of the acquisition, all staff currently employed by Underwoods at the site will be retained.

A spokesperson for John Banks Group added: “We are delighted to be expanding our business and look forward to welcoming customers to our new site.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank Underwoods for their co-operation during the acquisition process and we wish them all the best for the future.”

Kia has announced it will be partnering with Glyn Hopkin to open a new Kia dealership in Colchester.

A spokesperson for Kia said: "Kia enjoys a mutually beneficial relationship with its nationwide dealer network.

"Glyn Hopkin Kia Colchester will soon be appointed, offering a full suite of services to customers in Colchester and the surrounding areas.

"Full details of this new showroom will follow in due course."