THOMASTON — Rockland Ford is now under new ownership.

Previous owner Tony Esposito handed over the keys to the dealership in a deal announced Tuesday, Aug. 9.

Key Auto Group is taking over the business. Key owns 22 dealerships and 11 body shops in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and southern states including Florida and Tennessee, according to the company’s Regional Vice President Steve “Hoaty” Houghton.

He said Tuesday that the company plans to keep all the 42 employees on staff, explaining that they have created a cohesive team, which he intends to use to grow the business.

Houghton said Key Auto Group is in the process of an expansion, adding dealerships to its holdings.

Esposito has been with Rockland Ford since he took it over from Joseph Manning in March 2016. At the time, the business was across Route 1 in the older building, and he was already talking about moving it into a new facility.

The new 25,000-square-foot building opened at 2 Moody Drive in Thomaston next to Flagship Cinemas in March 2020 and the number of employees had increased under Esposito’s leadership.

Esposito said Aug. 9 that the timing was right for him to sell the business and focus on his other operations including Union Fair Auto, Jam Auto Sales and On the Road in Warren.

Prior to Esposito, Manning had owned Rockland Ford since 1994.

Key Auto Group previously took over leadership of the dealership in Newcastle that has become Key Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram.