British luxury automaker Bentley Motors stated on Friday it prepares to slash up to 1,000 jobs, almost a quarter of its workforce as the sector has been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis.
The redundancies at the brand follow cuts, amounting up to 2,000 jobs, announced on Thursday at luxury competitor Aston Martin and at car dealership Lookers.
The 100-year old Volkswagen owned Bentley, which has a workforce of 4,200, stated it was offering voluntary redundancy terms but could not omit compulsory redundancies.
“This is a necessary step that we have to take to protect the jobs of the vast majority who will remain, and deliver a sustainable business model for the future,” said Adrian Hallmark, chairman and chief executive of the brand.
“COVID-19 has not been the cause of this measure but a hastener.”
Bentley makes majority of its cars in Crewe, north west England. The site resumed on May 11, seven weeks after it was closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, making it one of the first automakers to restart production in the UK.
The company faces hundreds of millions of pounds of deferred or lost income from the plant closure and decreased output because of the pandemic.
The job losses form part of the automaker’s “Beyond100” strategy that will see it speed up the development of electrified models.
It is targeting for every model it provides to have the option of a hybrid variant by 2023, and its first pure electric model to be introduced in 2026.
British new car sales dropped by an annual 89% in May, only little less negative than April’s record 97% collapse, as car dealerships were closed because of the coronavirus lockdown, industry data showed on Thursday.