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Daewoo cuts back Halfords operation

Daewoo Cars is to run down its operations at 16 support centres in Halford stores this month.

Staff will be withdrawn from 14 support centres on October 26 and at two centres in Cardiff on October 31. The company has, however, a Car Centre operation on the Vale Retail Park in Cardiff. In addition, Daewoo staff in Halfords in Dundee were withdrawn last weekend as Arnold Clark opened a Daewoo franchise in the town on 15 October.

As a result of this process, a total of 41 Daewoo employees have been informed that they may be made redundant, though Daewoo says it will strive to integrate as many as possible into other areas of its network.

Daewoo customers will continue to have service, repair, and warranty work undertaken at Daewoo Approved Service Centres (DASCs) managed and operated by the AA. The AA bought all 129 Halfords service centres in the UK from The Boots Company for £5.75m in July.

A Daewoo spokesman said: “These changes will be offset by the expansion of Daewoo's outlet network during the remainder of 2001 and into 2002 as part of the recruitment of franchised retail partners. Announced earlier this year, our new retail strategy will see Daewoo's wholly-owned network operate in parallel with the new retailers, resulting in an increase in its geographical coverage, and in turn, market share.”

Daewoo will continue to operate in 24 other Halfords locations.

Daewoo Cars is in discussion with several potential franchise retail partners and will make an announcement on those as soon as negotiations have been successfully concluded. The first three retail partners were signed up in September.

The affected Halfords stores are:

October 26:
Hull, Blackburn, Reading, Swindon, Wrexham, Horsham, Perth, Waterlooville, Lincoln, Dartford, Bromborough, Worcester, Pontypridd and Hartlepool.

October 31:
Dundee and Newport Road, Cardiff

The partnership between Halfords and Daewoo began in 1995, when the Korean car manufacturer entered the UK market, providing additional support for Daewoo's servicing provision in 135 Halfords stores. In May, Halfords was bought by Centrica, owners of the AA.

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