THE strength of Toowoomba's economy has driven Armstrong Auto Group's purchase of Southern Cross Automotive.

The Toowoomba company, headed by business identities John and Jacqui Armstrong, fended off intense interest from national dealers in the competitive sale.

It marks the company's first expansion into the Western Downs with Roma's Southern Cross dealership now falling under the Armstrong name.

Company director John Armstrong said the opportunity Southern Cross represented to the company was irresistible.

Armstrong Auto Group dealership owners John and Jacqui Armstrong have purchased Southern Cross Automotive Group.
Armstrong Auto Group dealership owners John and Jacqui Armstrong have purchased Southern Cross Automotive Group. Bev Lacey

"Realistically it was a fantastic opportunity just for the expansion of our current business interests in Toowoomba," he said.

"We're passionate about the region and the area, and we think it's just a prime opportunity to grow our business in Toowoomba and the Darling Downs."

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Mr Armstrong said there would be no staff changes at the Toowoomba and Roma dealerships.

"We've included the opportunity for all staff employed in the current business to maintain their position on the day of settlement," he said.

"We will be carrying over all staff positions and all staff entitlements so we are giving people some security and the continuation of service."

The sale will bring major car brands BMW, Volvo, Renault and Ford under the Armstrong Auto Group banner, adding to its existing line that includes Nissan, Chrysler and Jeep.

Southern Cross Automotive has been broken up as a result of the sale, with the Dalby and Chinchilla outlets set to close in coming weeks.

Staff was told earlier this week of the changes.

Mr Armstrong said the opportunity to acquire the Dalby and Chinchilla outlets never formed part of the sale after receivers deemed the businesses unviable in the long term.

The Warwick-based Southern Cross Automotive branch was purchased by an existing car dealership in the city.

Hedge and Associates managing director Peter Hedge handled the receivership and commended the Armstrong Auto Group's competitiveness against major dealers.

He said the company had met the high standards demanded by major car brands BMW and Volvo in what he called a "very competitive field".

But it was the strength of the Toowoomba economy that bolstered the local company's chance against the bigger dealerships.

"Toowoomba is seen to be a good, strong, growing area and the types of vehicles the brands supply are the exact type of vehicle Toowoomba wants," Mr Hedge said.

"The fact that there was somebody of the calibre of Armstrong who actually has an existing business in Toowoomba is a compliment to him (John Armstrong) and the region.

"They have fended off some very high-power competition."

Southern Cross was placed into receivership in June, and the sale contract is expected to be settled next month.

Mr Armstrong said he looked forward to the chance to welcome new and existing customers to the expanding car dealership across the region.



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