Armstrong Auto Group Roma branch is closing down.
Armstrong Auto Group Roma branch is closing down.

Poor business ends in shock closure of Roma car dealership

ARMSTRONG Auto Groups have announced the shock closure of their Roma branch in an email they sent out to their customers tonight, saying due to poor business they had no other alternative.

The branch has been the dealer for the Ford, Mitsubishi and Kia brands, within the Armstrong Group for the last four and a half years.

John Armstrong, Managing Director of Armstrong Auto Group announced the branch closure to staff on a visit to Roma on Friday February 28.

"This was not an easy decision to make. We have been working hard to restructure and right size the Roma business for an extended period," Mr Armstrong said.

"Unfortunately, it has been determined that despite changes implemented, the branch was still unable to generate the level of business required to meet operating costs."

It has been noted that the combination of both economic and seasonal factors has played a large role in the general decrease in available business opportunity.

While the closure will impact eight Roma based staff, the Armstrong Group is working with these staff and is offering transfer opportunities for some positions in Toowoomba.

Ivan Maunder, a long-term branch employee and third generation Roma local will be joining the Armstrong Group Toowoomba based dealerships while branch General Manager Chris Orth will also transfer back to Toowoomba.

The Australian 2019 New Vehicle Market total sales volume finished almost 8 per cent down on the previous year, making it the worst result since 2011. The Roma new vehicle market has seen decreases above the national level.

Mr Armstrong thanked staff for their contributions over the last four and a half years of operation in Roma. "The closure of the branch is in no way a reflection of the hard work put in by all of you over this challenging period", he told staff at Friday's meeting.

"I would like to thank our customers that have supported the business by shopping locally in Roma," he said.

"We understand that the closure of the Roma branch will create an inconvenience in regard to servicing and warranty.

We are working on a plan to alleviate this issue as best we can for our Roma based customers and will communicate directly with them.

This is a sad day for all of us. We understand that the closure will have an impact on our people, the local economy and community.

We will continue to work closely with all affected parties to ensure a smooth transition during this period."

The business will continue to trade as normal through until March 31. There are plans in place to clear at reduced prices all remaining vehicle stock, parts and accessories by this time. The business will also be disposing of all mechanical based plant and equipment, including vehicle hoists and other workshop tooling and equipment.

The Armstrong Group Toowoomba dealerships continue to trade as normal.

2020 is set to be a big year for the group as they commence construction on new facilities in Neil Street Toowoomba, to merge the two current trading sites.

Armstrong Auto Group Toowoomba remains one of Toowoomba's largest privately owned and operated dealerships. Established in 1991, the group represents nine new vehicle brands including, Nissan, Jeep, Suzuki, Renault, Ford, Volvo and BMW. The Haval and Great Wall products are set to join the dealership shortly.

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