DORSET’S former Westover car dealerships have been re-badged as Hendy, marking the disappearance a 96-year-old brand name.

The Westover Group of showrooms was taken over in March by Hampshire-based Hendy Group, which has a long history the Bournemouth area.

The takeover of the sites in Dorset and Wiltshire created one of the biggest dealership networks in the country, with 2,000 staff and a turnover of £1billion.

At the time, Hendy said the Westover name would stay for the “foreseeable” future, but it says staff and customers have supported the change in name.

Rebranding of the Westover sites – which represent brands including Nissan, Toyota, Jaguar, Land Rover, Fiat and Alfa Romeo – was carried out earlier this month.

Hendy Group chief executive Paul Hendy said the Hendy name “has a strong heritage in Dorset” and the “time was right” to replace the Westover brand.

He said the newly acquired dealerships “have integrated extremely well into the Hendy portfolio” and staff have been “extremely positive about the acquisition”.

He said customers had been equally supportive of the takeover, with many welcoming the Hendy name back to the area.

The rebranding exercise involved 24 dealerships and 650 staff in a major logistics project which saw new signs installed across dealerships in Poole, Ferndown, Bournemouth, Christchurch, Corfe Mullen and Salisbury.

Mr Hendy said: “This is a major milestone in our 160th year of operation, The Westover business is firmly part of Hendy now and the rebrand reinforces our commitment to the region. The integration of Westover strengthens our position as a billion pound turnover company as we look towards the future.”

Westover Group was established in 1923, taking its name from the site it once occupied on Bournemouth’s Westover Road. For much of its lifetime, it was the local face of the Morris marque before becoming known as a Rover dealer.

Hendy began as a bicycle store in Southampton in 1869, owned by FA Hendy. It sold Fords in Bournemouth from 1913 to 1998. It has had an Iveco commercial vehicle operation in the county for 30 years and opened a Car Store at St Leonards this year.