The 21.2 per cent drop in UK car sales in September had an immediate impact on the logistics sector with Walon UK cutting 200 jobs from its 500-strong driver workforce. The Autologic subsidiary, which has just opened new headquarters near major manufacturers in the UK Midlands, provides finished vehicle logistic services to carmakers throughout the UK.
The announcement follows a similar cut by Carlisle-based ECM last week, which slashed 45 positions at key sites including Carlisle, Bristol, Coventry and Doncaster.
Bernard Brown, Group Human Resources Director for Autologic, said that the company is looking at ways of mitigating compulsory redundancies and is offering a generous voluntary severance scheme. Brown would not comment further on the nature of the redundancy strategy pending discussions with the T&G section of trade union Unite.
The Society of Manufacturers and Motor Traders recorded a five-month consecutive fall for new car registrations this year, with the 12-month rolling total dropping by almost 150,000 units; September accounted for 60 per cent of the fall.
Carmakers have already slowed production in response with Bentley, Jaguar, Land Rover and Toyota all cutting throughput. "Luxury brands are clearly being hit hard but so is the whole marketplace particularly where credit is an issue for the consumer," said Chris Hibbs, UK Auto leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers. "Suppliers are now starting to see schedules change and are having to plan for reduced volumes."