THE owners of Skipton Ford and Mazda are to close the business in Millennium Road, Skipton, and relocate to Keighley.

The dealership was established in 1993 as a Ford main dealership offering new cars, commercial vehicle’s and after-sales. The Mazda brand was added in 2004.

Managing director, Mark Bentley said: “It is with great regret that we have had to take this step after over 25 years of growth and forming a very loyal customer base.

“It is our intention to continue to service our customers in all aspects of Ford, Mazda and Kia from our sister dealership in Keighley which will naturally grow following the closure.”

The company said a combination of external factors has resulted in the decision including the current economic climate, reductions of manufacturer sales volumes, the rise in online trading and the escalation of running costs on the site.

Mr Bentley continued to express his sadness that, regrettably, a number of staff will be lost, but added that by making this move now, they will endeavour to relocate as many employees as possible in their other operations and safeguard the jobs for the remaining employees within the group.

Mr Bentley added that the company had a debt of gratitude for the staff who had served at Skipton Ford and for the backing of many loyal customers. He also paid tribute to the association with the car manufacturers Ford, Kia and Mazda and hoped the close relationship would continue for many years.

Skipton Ford and Mazda currently employ 40 people at the site and a further 75 at other businesses within the group of companies. All other group operations will operate as usual.

It is the company’s intention to transfer the business dealings to Keighley over the Christmas period.

It is not known what plans there are for the Skipton site at this stage.