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Aston Martin job cuts

Extended festivities: Aston Martin production at Gaydon in the UK.

Brit brands Aston Martin, Bentley, Jaguar and Rolls-Royce cut staff as sales slow

Aston Martin logo8 Dec 2008

ASTON Martin revealed last week that its recent golden run has not made it immune from the global automotive crisis by warning that it could be forced to shed as much as half of its workforce.

The Kuwait-owned British sportscar manufacturer, which employs about 1850 permanent and contract staff in the UK, said that it has begun negotiating with trade unions to reduce its workforce by up to 600, consisting of 300 full-time and 300 temporary jobs.

It also announced that the planned two-week Christmas production break at Gaydon in Warwickshire would be extended to four weeks, ending on January 19, due to falling global demand for luxury cars.

“Like other premium car brands, Aston Martin has been forced to take action to respond to the unprecedented downturn in the global economy,” said Aston Martin chief executive officer Ulrich Bez.

“These are regrettable but necessary measures in the extraordinary market conditions we all now face.

“Overall, we remain confident that the Aston Martin brand is the strongest it has ever been. With dedicated design, engineering and manufacturing facilities and an award-winning product range, we remain well-positioned for the upturn in the economy.”

Aston Martin sales in the UK, a market that accounts for almost one-third of the company’s sales, were down 32.9 per cent in October – and figures for November are expected to be even worse.

Annual sales globally are projected to be about 6500 this year, down 11.0 per cent on 2007.

All of Britain’s previously buoyant luxury car companies are suffering from the global downturn.

Since September, Jaguar has shut its Coventry and Merseyside plants for days at a time, and is losing 600 full-time staff and 850 temporary workers.

Meantime, Bentley has dropped shifts at Crewe and laid-off 150 staff, while Rolls Royce has made 40 permanent staff redundant and is shutting its Goodwood plant early for Christmas.

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