Aston Martin warns it may have to axe a third of workers

Honda also looks to cut back on staffing levels

The pain in the motor industry showed little sign of abating yesterday, with Aston Martin warning it could have to cut up to a third of its workforce and Honda launching a voluntary headcount reduction plan.

Aston Martin, the luxury car maker famous for being James Bond's favourite, said some 300 permanent staff and a similar number of temp-orary workers are facing redundancy because of the impact of the global economic downturn on the comp-any's sales.

Ulrich Bez, the chief executive, said: "Like other premium car brands, Aston Martin has been forced to take action to respond to the unprecedented downturn in the global economy. These are regrettable but necessary measures in the extraordinary market conditions we all now face."

Aston Martin sold 110 cars in the UK in October, 54 less than the year before, and annual sales are forecast to be down 800. Last week, the company announced that its plant at Gaydon in Warwickshire would stay closed until 19 January, doubling the original two-week shutdown. Honda, which has also put in place measures to reduce its output, is also looking for ways to cut staff numbers. Yesterday, it launched a three-tier scheme including an "associate release package" offering a lump sum for people who resign and a sabbatical programme for extended leave on half-pay. "We are not making people redundant," a spokesman for Honda said. "The idea is to try to reduce numbers on a voluntary basis but we have no fixed number in mind."

The combination of slowing consumer spending and reduced credit liquidity is causing problems for car makers across the world. Aston Martin's production cuts joined a growing list of companies forced to take similar measures, including Nissan, Honda, BMW, Mini and Bentley. The number of jobs being lost is also growing, and last week, just as 850 agency workers were being laid off by Jaguar Land Rover, representatives from 17 major UK manufacturers were in talks with Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, about emergency measures to bail out the beleaguered sector.

Paul Everitt, the chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, which brokered last week's meeting and will be central to further discussions with the Government, said the news from Aston Martin and Honda was further evidence that time is running out.

"These announcements underline how exceptional the current circumstances are and how speedily the effects are being played out," Mr Everitt said. "The sooner we begin working out both how to support legitimate companies facing short-term problems and how to ensure we protect the industrial capability for the long term, the better. We can come up with fantastic policies and funding but if it is so far into next year that the damage is already done, then it does not help much."

Car manufacturers' problems are not restricted to the UK. The Japanese giants Toyota, Mazda and Nissan have all announced production cuts and redundancies. In the US, Ford, Chrysler and General Motors have to produce a viable recovery plan this week to merit the mooted $25bn (£16bn) rescue plan from Congress.

Ford also announced yesterday that it is considering its options regarding its Volvo subsidiary, and may even sell the loss-making Swedish marque.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Advisor is r...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

SThree: HR Benefits Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn