Every single member of staff at Stevens Vauxhall dealerships in Horsham and Crawley has been made redundant.
Around 70 people were informed at a meeting on Tuesday that the business will close after it was unsuccessful in securing a buyer.
Minutes after the staff announcement Peter Stevens, managing director, told the County Times: “It’s a very sad day.”
It follows contact with staff and customers of Stevens Vauxhall who phoned and emailed the County Times in recent days to register their concern.
One member of staff, known only as ‘whistle-blower1’, said Vauxhall confirmed fear that ‘many families have a bleak future with no job and no money’, adding: “Staff have no money to pay bills or feed families.”
Last week a worker at the Horsham garage said he would be forced to ‘go on the dole’ to support his family if his job was lost.
On Thursday last week the branches, based in Billingshurst Road, Broadbridge Heath, and Fleming Way Industrial Estate, Crawley, were closed during a period of consultation.
Customers attempting to contact either of the garages received no response, and a message posted on their website advised to ‘seek your nearest alternative Vauxhall dealer’ if their need was urgent.
Vauxhall said its nearest dealer is in Chislehurst or Sevenoakes.
A spokeswoman for Vauxhall said: “Due to the current economic climate, notice of intention to appoint an administrator has been given in relation to Pearl (Crawley) Limited, established in Crawley and Horsham.
“All staff working in these dealerships were notified of the position and there has been ongoing employee consultation, following which they were notified this morning [Wednesday August 29] that no buyer has been identified and they were regretfully made redundant with immediate effect.”
She added: “Notwithstanding closure of the Crawley and Horsham dealerships, Vauxhall will ensure that customers for new Vauxhall vehicle sales who have paid deposits do not lose their deposits and Vauxhall will direct customers to alternative local Vauxhall sites for sales, servicing and aftersales.
“Customers who have bought Vauxhall vehicles through Pearl (Crawley) Limited may be reassured that, as with sales by any other Vauxhall dealer, the manufacturer will honour valid warranties in the usual way.”
It had been selling from its Horsham and Crawley sites since 1963.
Back then it traded under the name of Tates, which was later acquired by Evans Halshaw in 1982.
Then Peter Stevens led a management buyout in August 2000.