The luxury car brand is cutting a quarter of its workforce due to the drop in activity due to the coronavirus.
British luxury car maker Bentley announced the loss of 1,000 jobs, a quarter of its workforce, on Friday. The brand, owned by the German Volkswagen, justifies the cut because of the decline in activity caused by the pandemic of new coronavirus.
Bentley, which employs 4,200 people in the UK, said in a statement that it had offered voluntary redundancies, without ruling out laying off more workers. This announcement constitutes a new blow for the British automobile sector where restructuring is increasing.
Aston Martin and McLaren also affected
Thursday, Aston Martin, another luxury brand, had announced 500 job cuts, and the chain of Lookers dealers 1500. The British manufacturer of cars McLaren has decided to reduce its workforce by 1200 people.
Bentley, headquartered in Crewe in the north-west of England, says the pandemic has brutally derailed its development plans. The brand had implemented a transformation plan in 2018 consisting of improving its productivity, with the key to an operating profit in the green of 300 million euros in 2019 and a record performance in the first quarter of 2020.
But Bentley says it had no other choice but to look for sources of savings due to a significant reduction in its revenue forecast. “Losing colleagues is not something we take lightly, but it is necessary to protect the vast majority of jobs that remain,” said Adrian Hallmark, general manager of Bentley. “The Covid-19 was not the cause but an accelerator” of the difficulties, he recognized, suggesting that the decision could also be linked to the ongoing transformation plan. Beyond its efforts to be more efficient, the manufacturer also intends to take an electric turn and will offer a hybrid version for its models by 2023. It then intends to launch its first 100% electric model in 2026. The brand has been founded in 1919 in north London and was taken over by Volkswagen in 1998. It sells around 11,000 vehicles per year, at an average price of around 200,000 pounds.