More than 2,000 jobs to go as Lookers and Aston Martin announce cuts

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More than 2,000 jobs are set to go in the UK’s car industry as a major car manufacturer and a dealership giant announced sweeping job cuts.

Struggling car dealership Lookers said around 1,500 jobs are set to be axed – some 18% of it workforce – and another 12 showrooms will shut as the group revealed plans to slash costs in the face of the coronavirus crisis and a tough car market.

Lookers, based in Altrincham with sites around the UK, said it was launching redundancy consultations across all areas of the group, which are expected to see the jobs go among its 8,100-strong workforce.

Last November the board announced an ongoing portfolio review and identified 15 dealerships for closure and it has now identified a further 12 dealerships for either closure, consolidation or refranchising.

The group said this will be completed in the second half of 2020, but it has yet to reveal the location of the sites earmarked for closure.


Following these closures the Group will operate from a portfolio of 136 dealerships.

The closures will leave it with 136 dealerships across the UK, and result in cutting costs by about £50m a year.

It comes as the group has been hit hard by a difficult car market, which has been compounded by plunging sales amid the lockdown, as well as internal issues after it uncovered a potential fraud within the business in March.

Chief executive Mark Raban said: “We have taken the decision to restructure the size of the group’s dealership estate to position the business for a sustainable future, which regrettably means redundancy consultation with a number of our colleagues.

“This has been a very difficult decision and we will be supporting our people as much as possible throughout the process.”

The group was forced to shut all its showrooms as the UK was placed in lockdown in March, but opened 41 in April for repairs and maintenance for key workers, followed by aftersales sites in May and then most of its dealerships reopened on June 1 as restrictions were eased.

Meanwhile Aston Martin has said it plans to cut up to 500 jobs as part of a major restructuring at the luxury car manufacturer.

The troubled company said it will shortly launch consultations on the job losses, which have been driven by lower-than-planned production volumes and improved productivity.

Aston Martin, which has its main manufacturing site in Gaydon, Warwickshire, said the restructuring is expected to cost around £12m.

However, it added that the strategy is intended to deliver £10m in operating cost savings each year.

It said it will also save around £8m from reduced manufacturing costs amid lower demand, while it will also reduce capital spending by around £10 million.

The UK manufacturer, famous for making James Bond’s car of choice, will “right-size the organisational structure” amid lower demand for sports cars, in a bid to improve profitability.

Aston Martin also told investors that its first SUV car, the DBX, is on track for deliveries this summer and has a “strong order book”.

It comes after a testing year for the manufacturer, as it was blighted with numerous profit warnings.

Last week, the company’s chief executive, Dr Andy Palmer, announced he was leaving the manufacturer after a collapse in its share price.

Dr Palmer, who has led Aston Martin since 2014, is to be replaced as chief executive by Tobias Moers, who currently runs Mercedes-AMG, which is the German manufacturer’s high-performance division.

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