Economic decline forces plant to close for up to seven weeks
23 January 2009

Bentley is to shut its Crewe factory for up to seven weeks to prevent stock build up, the company has announced.

The plant, which builds the Bentley Continental and Arnage models, will close from the beginning of March until mid-April. Arnage production will be halted for around six weeks, while production on the Continental line is expected to be suspended for seven weeks.

The shutdown, which affects 3600 people, will be staggered to allow cars already in the production process to be completed.

Bentley enjoyed a record production year in 2007, building around 10,000 vehicles, but in 2008 that figure fell to 7600, a decline of 24 per cent.

Mike Hawes, corporate affairs director for Bentley Motors, said the shutdown was not unusual. He insisted that workers’ wages would not be hit by the closure because Bentley operates a time-banking scheme where workers continue to get paid but make up for time off at a later date.

“Bentley production fell last year by 24 per cent, a similar figure to other luxury car makers,” said Hawes. “There is no specific date for when production will resume, but our workers will continue to get paid while the plant is shut down.”

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