It will be the end of the road for Hardie of Larbert when the 60 year association with the village comes to halt this summer.
The Main Street Peugeot dealer has been selling cars in the area since 1958, but economic factors and issues with Peugeot management have led owner Gordon Hardie to reluctantly pull the plug on the Larbert operation at the end of July and move things through to Stirling.
Mr Hardie said: “We’ve known this may happen since 2016 when Peugeot stated it didn’t require as many dealerships and started issuing termination notices. Then they said we would have to refit our corporate image and our showroom – you’re talking a six figure sum – and if we didn’t we would be in breach of contract.
“The thing is we spent a lot of money doing just that five years ago. There has been a lot of changes in the Peugeot management and I cannot understand some of their thoughts on driving dealers to termination.
“I met the Peugeot MD last year and I said the way things are going I don’t think it would be sensible to spend that kind of money. The showroom is fine and people are interested in good service, not the colour of tiles in the showroom.
He added there were two or three different factors involved in the decision to move away from Larbert and Peugeot. The last six months of 2017 saw the economy slide and also saw buyers move away from diesel cars to petrol cars.
Now Hardie has hooked up with Suzuki and will be acting as dealers for their vehicles at their base in Kerse Road, Stirling.
Mr Hardie said: “We will be losing around 10 members of staff from Stirling and Larbert – three through voluntary redundancy – as we move two teams into one in Stirling. We are looking forward to the challenge of working with Suzuki.
“Things worked extremely well in Larbert, it was a really strong nucleus that we are hoping will come with us to Stirling. Everyone has gone through this with great dignity and understanding of the situation.
“The thing is we were still selling a lot of cars in May so this is not something we wanted to bring on, but this situation with Peugeot won’t change.”
There will still be car deliveries to take care of in Larbert as well and warranty work and the wind down of the workshop, so Mr Hardie said it will probably be around the end of July when the business closes for good in Larbert.