THE long-established Greyhound Ford dealership, in Accrington, which has served motorists for 50 years has been acquired by the Peoples Group.

The new owner, which has six other Blue Oval showrooms in its portfolio, has promised to continue the garage’s ethos of personal service to its thousands of loyal customers.

Chairman Michael Pilling and his father John acquired the business in 1982 and made it into the family firm it is now, maintaining its philosophy of always putting the customer first, and it is that aspect which attracted Peoples to make its move for the dealership.

Peoples Chairman Brian Gilda has stressed that his group’s other Ford garages, three in Merseyside, and three in Scotland, operate on identical lines.

He said: “We have been looking for some time to expand our involvement in the North West. I met up with Michael, who I have known for 20 years, at the annual Ford Convention last year in Amsterdam and we began discussions.

“Greyhound and Peoples share a similar DNA, where customer care and customer loyalty are paramount, so for both parties it was a perfect fit.

“Greyhound are strong performers in the new car sector, Motability, service and wholesale trade parts.

“We will be looking to help improve used car performance with the high- quality used car stock we have at our Merseyside dealerships. The takeover will also safeguard the future of the 29 employees who work in the dealership.

“I expect it to be a seamless transition from Greyhound to Peoples as the local management will continue as before.

“The only difference customers will notice is in the branding. For business and marketing reasons, the dealership will be known as Peoples of Accrington and the new signage should be going up in the next couple of weeks.”

The deal marks the end of an era for Greyhound chairman Michael Pilling who is moving on to pursue other business interests.

He will hand over the responsibility of running the dealership to Jackie Waterhouse, director and general manager of the Peoples Liverpool Group of companies who lives in East Lancashire.

“In one way I'll be sad to say goodbye to Greyhound, but I’m delighted that Peoples are the new owners, they are very well respected within the Ford Motor Company Dealer Group and Ford themselves were very happy to sanction the change,” said Mr Pilling.

Peoples Chairman Brian Gilda started his first dealership in Bathgate, Scotland, 30 years ago.