Vauxhall says no jobs will be lost as it terminates dealerships
VAUXHALL is terminating the contracts of all its 326 dealerships in Britain as the company battles to deal with plunging sales and a changing market.
The marque is ending all dealer contracts in the UK – a move also happening with sister brand Opel across Europe – as the entire sales network is reorganised.
Some 1,600 dealers across the pan-European network will be given two years’ notice from April 30 that the manufacturer is ending its relationship with them, and proposing a new contract with about two-thirds of them.
About 12,000 staff are employed in franchisees’ UK dealerships but Stephen Norman, Vauxhall’s UK boss, insisted that staff would not lose their jobs as a “direct result” of Vauxhall’s decision to refranchise the network.
“Based on 42 years experience in the industry and having been through four of these network refranchisings, I do not expect jobs to be threatened,” he said. “I don’t want to ‘de-dramatise’ it, but refranchising is not something that doesn’t happen at regular intervals in the motor industry. Nobody is being sacked. The vast majority of franchises will continue as before.
“We do not expect a reduction in the number of retail dealer outlets as a result of this action. People will find work in other franchises,” he added, insisting that “simple” facts about demand for cars in the UK indicated they would be able to find employment “perhaps with other dealers”. Mr Norman said that Vauxhall – which was bought along with Opel last year for £1.9bn by France’s PSA Group from GM – would still be Britain’s second-largest dealer network after the restructuring, but would be “go from being the second largest after Ford to closer to the third largest”. This suggests about 200 dealerships will remain.
Sales of Vauxhall cars have been falling for some time but the decline accelerated last year, dropping 22pc – more than three times the 5.7pc fall seen across the wider UK market. Last year Vauxhall sold 195,000 cars in the UK.
Bottle bank Ivan Menezes, chief executive of drinks giant Diageo, at its headquarters in Edinburgh, where he announced a £150m investment over three years which, it is hoped, will “transform” its Scotch whisky visitor experiences.