A NORTH-EAST car firm has extended its global reach after driving up sales and expanding Down Under.

Acklam Car Centre, near Middlesbrough, says sales have lifted by ten per cent, boosted by strong growth in national and overseas markets.

The family-owned company already attracts interest from customers across Europe, selling cars to France, Germany and Cyprus.

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However, it has now secured a £35,000 sale to send an Aston Martin DB7 Vantage to an expat businessman in Perth, Western Australia.

The luxury marque, made famous by fictional spy James Bond and the iconic DB5 model, is one of the world's best known car manufacturers.

Bosses say the 14-year-old V12 DB7 being shipped to Australia has one previous owner and just 25,000 miles on the clock.

Chris Andrews, manager at Acklam Car Centre, said the firm, which also sells Porsche, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz models, was seeing a rise in demand as buyers' confidence returns.

The 35-year-old said: “It’s been a fantastic year and we’ve seen a definite change in the market across the UK and beyond.

“Sales are up, which we hope is the shape of things to come, and people are starting to feel like they are coming out of the recession and into a recovery.

“They are now finding that they have a bit more disposable income and are taking advantage of that and getting the cars they want.

“We’ve taken orders from one end of the country to the other, everything from Aberdeen to Cornwall, and are shipping the Aston to Australia.”

The company employs 20 staff and advertises its cars on a number of websites such as Auto-Trader, which is where the Southern Hemisphere buyer found it.

He said: “The DB7 is going up in value and this model was a great example.

“The buyer moved to Australia 30 years ago and had always fancied an Aston Martin, so this was perfect for him.

“It's another boost for us and we want to build on it for the rest of 2014 and beyond.”