Ross-shire Vauxhall dealer Mackays of Dingwall moves to Inverness

One of Rossshire’s best-known businesses, Mackays car dealership of Dingwall, is to leave the county town and consolidate in Inverness.

While the company insists there will be no job losses among its 60 staff when it closes its sprawling Strathpeffer Road premises, it will ‘certainly have a negative impact on Dingwall’s economy “, according to an expert observer.

Staff will move from Dingwall to Autovision on Harbor Road in Inverness on March 28. The Dingwall premises are expected to be sold a fortnight later.

Mackays, which operates the Vauxhall franchise for Ross-shire, Sutherland and Caithness, has already moved its headquarters from Dingwall to its new home in Inverness. The move is part of the automaker’s plans to halve the number of its UK outlets.

Company Secretary Joan McMillan said: “The whole automotive industry is going through a massive realignment when it comes to the new car franchise and virtually all manufacturers are reducing their number of dealerships across Europe.

“We had a banner year in 2021, but it became clear that the manufacturer was reducing its number of outlets over a four-year period from almost 400 to 176 and the future of the Dingwall Garage was potentially in jeopardy.

“The Mackays brand will be integrated into Autovision in Inverness, of which Mackays is the holding company. We will continue our marketing and future contact with existing customers and will have the same Mackays staff that customers have always dealt with.

Although turnover fell by almost £2m to £16.1m in 2020, 2021 has shown signs of recovery.

Highland economist Tony Mackay said: “The latest statistics from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show that 2021 was the worst year for new car registrations and used sales since the 2008 recession.

“The industry has been hit hard by the pandemic and the resulting drop in consumer spending. It’s no surprise that Mackay needs to cut costs. However, this will certainly have a negative impact on Dingwall’s economy.

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