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Car industry needs credit guarantees says Bentley

Bentley has said that the luxury sector is not immune to the recession and the car industry needs credit guarantees to survive.

Stuart McCullough, sales and marketing chief at Bentley, says the financial crisis is hitting the car industry so badly because the whole system runs on credit.

He said: "Suppliers, manufacturers, dealers and the customers are dependent on credit. Someone has turned the oxygen off.

“Businesses and consumers need credit guarantees to kick-start the business and if something is not done quickly, job losses are inevitable and the luxury sector is not immune.

"Orders and profits are down. How long will it last. I can't answer that, we can only try and configure the business to cope."

Volkswagen-owned Bentley employs around 3,800 people and has seen a fall of around 20% in sales this year having broken through the 10,000 annual sales mark for the first time last year.

It has already had to halt the night shift at its assembly plant in Crewe and has extended its Christmas shut-down to January 12.

McCullough said: "We have good industrial relations with the unions at Crewe. We all share the pain. On the positive side we will continue to invest in new products and we believe that these new products will drive a renaissance. We have not changed our research and development plans, in fact we are accelerating them. We will take on more apprentices and we see a future in manufacturing and engineering."

In the meantime, he added that the current financial climate was like "driving through fog, we have to proceed with caution. It's a situation which no one could have predicted."

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