Bentley to cut 1,000 jobs

British luxury carmaker cuts a quarter of its workforce following Covid-19 crisis


Bentley Motors has announced that it is cutting a quarter of its workforce, in the latest example of the devastation wrought by the Covid-19 crisis on the global auto sector.

The luxury carmaker, which employs over 4,200 people, will undertake 1,000 job cuts in a “voluntary release programme” and said that it “cannot rule out future compulsory redundancies”.

Attributing the decision to “significant effects on the short-term financial outlook,” the company released a statement, which said: "Letters have been issued to all colleagues outlining the personal financial terms of the offer based on length of service, age and salary.

"To make career transitions easier, Bentley is also providing financial support towards career guidance for all colleagues that choose to pursue a new professional direction.”

The measures will come as a blow to those 1,700 workers who only returned to work at Bentley’s Crewe headquarter on 11 May, having been forced to down tools by the government’s lockdown measures.

With 2020 heralding the worst May car sales since 1952, Bentley is by no means the only carmaker in Britain that has been forced to trim its sails as a result of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Earlier this week, Aston Martin Lagonda (AML) announced 500 redundancies, while Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has had to borrow 5bn yuan (£560m, $711m) from Chinese banks to maintain cashflow.

Nor are British brands suffering particularly worse than their continental competitors. Last week, Renault announced it would be cutting 15,000 jobs as part of a €2bn restructuring plan.

With lockdown measures easing around the world, there is some hope that the global auto sector can at least start to return to normal activity. However, considering the vast oversupply and economic blows inflicted as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, this will be a new normal.

In late-afternoon Friday trading, Bentley’s owner Volkswagen (VOW3) stood up 5.8 per cent at €149.84.

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