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Bentley to cut UK workforce by almost a quarter

Bentley Continental GT production line in Crewe

Bentley has announced plans to shed 1,000 jobs in the UK under a “voluntary release programme” after COVID-19 coronavirus hastened a drive to cut costs.

The luxury carmaker said today that it would encourage voluntary redundancies at this stage of its plans to reduce the headcount at its manufacturing base in Crewe, but would not rule out compulsory redundancies.

Adrian Hallmark, chairman and chief executive officer of Bentley Motors, said that the business had placed up to 66% of its workforce on furlough during the coronavirus crisis and had also suspended recruitment, but further action was needed to cut costs.

Hallmark said: "Losing colleagues is not something we are treating lightly but this is a necessary step that we have to take to safeguard the jobs of the vast majority who will remain and deliver a sustainable business model for the future through our Beyond100 strategy.

"The voluntary release programme at least allows the colleagues to make the personal choice and leave us with the most appealing and supportive offer possible within the circumstances. COVID-19 has not been the cause of this measure but a hastener."

Volkswagen Group-owned Bentley increased its worldwide sales by 5% to 11,000 cars in 2019 but has struggled to be profitable in recent years and this has been compounded by a sharp fall in demand for new cars caused by coronavirus.

Earlier this week, Aston Martin revealed a plan to axe 500 jobs as part of a restructure of its operations designed to save the British carmaker £10 million each year.

The OEM’s executive chairman, Canadian Billionaire and Formula One team boss Lawrence Stroll, described the move was part of a “fundamental reset” for the business.

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