Vauxhall dealers ‘must work hard to keep contracts’

Vauxhall says it is cutting the number of dealerships it franchises
Vauxhall says it is cutting the number of dealerships it franchises
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Vauxhall is to scale back its dealerships amid falling sales and changes in the way motorists buy cars.

The brand will issue letters to all its UK dealerships at the end of April giving two years’ notice that it is terminating their contracts. It is deciding which of the dealers to offer new terms.

Vauxhall’s communications director Denis Chick said the car maker would change the remuneration process for dealers and introduce new standards to better reflect the changing market, as consumers did more research online.

He said: ‘We will probably lose a few retailers’ but denied reports that a third could be cut.

Vauxhall has the second largest number of dealerships in the UK after Ford, with 326, including Evans Halshaw in Portsmouth and Eden in Fareham.

Mr Chick insisted it would maintain this position after the franchising agreements werereformed, adding: ‘Nobody will lose their jobs.’

Sales of new Vauxhall cars fell by 18 per cent year-on-year in the first three months of 2018.

The brand was taken over last year by France’s PSA Group, whose efficiency drive has led to doubts over the future of the Vauxhall plant in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire.

Industry expert James Baggott, chief executive officer at the Baize Group in Gosport, the parent company of motoring editorial agency Blackball Media and automotive PR company OnCue Communications, said: ‘This is worrying news for Vauxhall, who had long been the second biggest selling manufacturer after Ford.

‘Last year, they lost this title for the first time in decades to Volkswagen.

‘If you’re not selling as many cars, you don’t need as many dealerships. It’s business.

‘The company employs 11,000 people across the UK.

‘There’s a high chance quite a few of them may lose their job but it’s now up to the dealers to work hard and prove they’re the ones to be kept under the new contract.’