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Biggest 4x4 dealership forced to cease trading; in association with RBS.

Byline: Karen Dent

THE region's biggest four wheel drive dealership has ceased trading after falling victim to the credit crunch.

The Northern 4x4 Centre, which had garages at Thropton near Rothbury and at the Vroom Car Retail Park in North Tyneside, has started proceedings for a Creditors Voluntary Liquidation, also known as an insolvent liquidation.

Both garages, which sold new and used cars, have stopped trading with the loss of eight jobs.

RMT accountants and business advisers, which has organised a meeting of the creditors at its offices in Newcastle next Wednesday, said the company's financial position was now being evaluated. It said the fall in vehicle sales, especially in the four wheel drive and luxury vehicle markets, had led to the problems at the Northern 4x4 Centre.

"It appears that the company have been a victim of reduced consumer spending, particularly in relation to non-essential purchases," said Mike Pott, recovery and insolvency partner at RMT.

The news comes a week after the figures revealed that August new car sales had fallen to their lowest level since 1966.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said new car sales dropped by 18.6% this year as consumers were squeezed by the credit crunch.

Four-wheel drive owners have faced escalating road tax bills in recent Budgets and soaring fuel costs have also seen customers turning towards models that are more economical to run.

The Vauxhall Corsa, Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra were the biggest selling new cars last month, the SMMT statistics revealed.

Less than a year ago, the Northern 4x4 Centre was riding high after becoming the only the second motor dealership in the UK to be granted a franchise to sell Hummers, large US vehicles favoured by celebrities such as David Beckham. It took eight orders for Hummers, which can cost more than pounds 50,000, before the vehicles even arrived in the North East.

The business was set up around 20 years ago in Thropton by Stewart Rogers, who along with son Paul, is a director of the company. Originally a traditional car dealer, the business branched out into four-wheel drives before opting to specialise.

CAPTION(S):

CEASED TRADING Stewart Rogers of the Northern 4x4 Centre in Thropton near Rothbury has ceased trading after falling victim to the credit crunch.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 10, 2008
Words:382
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