2,000 automotive jobs to go as Aston Martin and Lookers make cuts

Aston Martin and car dealer network Lookers are to lay off 2,000 staff in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

Sports car maker Aston Martin said it was cutting 500 jobs from its 2,600-strong workforce as part of “decisive” action to cut its expenditure by £10 million

The firm recorded a pre-tax loss of nearly £119 million in the first three months of 2020 as its dealer and manufacturing network was forced to close and sales fell by almost a third due to the impact of coronavirus.

It said the redundancies were part of “right sizing” the business to return the company to profitability. It had previously announced broader restructuring expected to save around £18m in manufacturing and other costs.

Aston Martin was forced to halt production at its St Athan plant due to the coronavirus outbreak (Photo: Aston Martin)

At the same time, dealer network Lookers said it was closing 12 sites around the UK, resulting in 1,500 redundancies.

All car dealerships were forced to close in March and Lookers was among those to reopen its English showrooms on June 1 as lockdown restrictions were eased.

However, on Thursday, chief executive Mark Raban said that restructuring was needed to ensure a sustainable future for the business.

Lookers currently employs around 8,000 staff. The latest closures come on top of a plan announced last November to shut 15 dealerships. The move will leave it with 136 dealerships around the UK.

Mr Raban said: "We have taken the decision to restructure the size of the group's dealership estate to position the business for a sustainable future, which regrettably means redundancy consultation with a number of our colleagues."

The UK car industry has been badly affected by the coronavirus outbreak. New car registrations in May were down 89 per cent year on year, following a 97 per cent drop in April. Only 20,247 new cars were registered in May, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

This week it was revealed that the SMMT has been in talks with the Government about a £1.5 billion scrappage scheme to help revive the “moribund” new car market and several major manufacturers have called for some form of incentive to encourage buyers.