Solent Citroen, Solent Nissan, Solent Mazda, in Portsmouth, and Petworth Car Sales, in Petworth, were shut on Friday.
All vehicles at the garages have been taken away. Staff and customers turned up to find notices on the door telling customers it was going into administration.
A statement on the company’s website says: ‘It is with regret that due to adverse trading conditions, the directors have had to take the decision that the business must close.
‘We are in negotiation with the banks to appoint an administrator and relevant parties will be contacted in due course, once this has been achieved.
‘For staff, if you have any queries, please contact your line manager.
‘For customers, we apologise for any inconvenience that this has caused and if we are currently working on your car, or you are awaiting a delivery, please contact us by e-mail.’
The shock announcement was reported by Solent Motor Group’s local newspaper, The News.
See what staff members have been telling the newspaper here.
A statement from the directors at Solent Portsmouth Ltd Trading as Solent Citroen Solent Mazda and Solent Nissan
It is with regret and sadness that after 16 years of trading in Portsmouth that we have had to close the business.
This is due to the current economic climate in which the motor trade seems to have been hit particularly hard.
We have tried over the last few months to save the business and protect the jobs of the 73 staff by restructuring the business and making drastic cost cuts but this has proved to be unsuccessful.
Our feelings go out to all our staff their families and our customers at this difficult time and this is not a decision that was taken lightly.
We are working closely with all relevant parties concerned and aim to return any customers cars that are in for service or repair very shortly.
We would like to thank our staff, customers and franchises for their support at this time