As the slowdown caused by the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic lingers on, more and more automakers are starting to announce job cuts.
The latest is Bentley, which said Friday it plans to reduce staff numbers by 1,000 at its operations in Crewe, United Kingdom, or about one in four. The automaker will offer a voluntary redundancy package to each of its staff and warned that compulsory redundancies can't be ruled out.
The news comes just a day after Aston Martin announced it would cut up to 500 jobs. Renault last month announced plans to cut almost 15,000 jobs and alliance partner Nissan is expected to announce a similar number of cuts.
Bentley, which is owned by Volkswagen Group, resumed production in early May following a coronavirus shutdown, albeit short around 500 staff who were due to return in mid-June. At the time, Bentley Chairman and CEO Adrian Hallmark said the automaker had an 8-month order list to fill.
Bentley sales grew by 5% to end 2019 at 11,006 units, resulting in a profit of 65 million euros (approximately $74 million). This was thanks in part to a turnaround plan implemented after a shocker of a 2018 where the automaker lost 288 million euros, due primarily to the delayed launch of the redesigned Continental GT. But the latest slowdown caused by the coronavirus is proving to be a major blow, with sales in 2020 likely to come in much lower than 2019's result.
Also putting pressure on jobs, Bentley has just ceased production of its Mulsanne flagship, together with the venerable L-series V-8 that powered it. A new model line to replace the Mulsanne isn't expected for several years.