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Lancs VW car dealership to cut 1,500 jobs and close 12 showrooms

Written by on June 4, 2020

A Lancashire car dealership is set to cut 1,500 jobs as part of cost-cutting plans to survive through the coronavirus crisis.

Lookers, which runs Volkswagen dealerships in Blackpool, Blackburn, and Preston, announced the job losses this morning along with the closure of 12 showrooms.

The Altrincham-based business will shut the 12 sites either by closure, merging with other showrooms or refranchising.

This is on top of the 15 dealerships being closed already under plans announced in November.

The closures will leave it with 136 dealerships across the UK.

Lookers said the moves will cut costs by about £50 million a year.

It is not yet known which car dealerships will close and if the redundancy plans will impact its Lancashire teams.

Recently-appointed chief executive Mark 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.

“This has been a very difficult decision and we will be supporting our people as much as possible throughout the process.”

The group was forced to shut all its showrooms as the UK was placed in lockdown in March, but opened 41 in April for repairs and maintenance for key workers, followed by after sales sites in May and then most of its dealerships reopened on June 1 as restrictions were eased.

Lookers said following the phased reopening and bolstered online offering, it has taken retail orders for 2,865 new and used vehicles in the past two weeks, just over half of the sales seen a year earlier.

“We have used the time as the business has been closed to adapt and evolve to meet changes in consumer behaviour, not just for a post-Covid environment, but also to enhance our digital offering and the trend towards electrification,” said Mr Raban.

The group still has about 55% of its workforce furloughed on government support schemes.