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Dealer staff take protest to doors of Volkswagen

Staff from a collapsed dealer group have been protesting outside Volkswagen Ireland's headquarters this morning, blaming the carmaker for withdrawing its support.

More than 20 workers from Belgard Motors claim lack of support from VW Group led to it appointing a provisional liquidator on Friday.

The group is insolvent with debts of more than €17 million. It holds franchises for Volkswagen, Audi, Mercedes, Mazda brands and was Ireland’s official Porsche dealer.

Brian Murphy, a former director with the group, told the Irish Times he had recently been requested to create a survival plan, and was prepared to invest working capital to refinance the business. He claimed the company did not get the support of VW group, one of the groups' franchises.

VW Group Ireland managing director Paul Willis said the industry was going through a very difficult time. He added: "However, we can be absolutely clear that we cannot be accused of creating the situation that Belgard got itself into.”

He declined to comment on Murphy’s efforts to rescue the business.

The High Court heard last week the group’s projected turnover for this year was some €27 million, down 56 per cent from €62 million last year and €69 million in 2007.

Belgard's new car sales in 2008 were 1,585 but were just 555 to August, while used car sales dropped from 1,203 in 2008 to 591 to August.
 

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