Ford’s UK managing director Andy Barratt visited Eastleigh to open a new showroom – believed to be the largest of its kind in Europe.

Mr Barratt was at the new Hendy FordStore in Leigh Road which offers the complete Ford range and includes a Transit Centre.

“This is a major investment for the group and we’re thrilled to be offering customers the very best in terms of facilities and services to private customers, fleet clients and those buying commercial vehicles,” said Hendy chief executive, Paul Hendy

“This is our second dedicated FordStore and complements our existing Portsmouth FordStore as part of our ongoing investment plans.

“I know all the staff really appreciated Andy visiting to see the new facilities of which we are all extremely proud.”

Andy Barratt said, “It has been good to see how Hendy has embraced the FordStore concept with its second in this area.

“FordStores are designed to create a more meaningful relationship with customers that engages them throughout the purchase and ownership experience and this dealership fits the bill perfectly.”

The FordStore has been created in Leigh Road following the move of Mazda and Kia franchises which are now based in the brand new £9 million Villeneuve Way development in Eastleigh alongside a Honda dealership.

The firm recently announced acquisition of the Seward Group which has dealerships in Portsmouth and Havant.

The group also has plans to open its Dorset-based Car Store used car showroom in Ferndown, which will join the recently-opened Tunbridge Wells-based Mazda.

With the addition of Seward Hendy now has 57 franchise outlets across 30 locations and employs more than 1,100 people in Hampshire, Sussex, Surrey, Kent and Devon.

Hendy Automotive is rated 30 in the Motor Trader Top 200 with annual turnover of £532.8m and pre-tax profits of £5m.