Used car specialist Imperial Car Supermarkets has started redundancy consultations with staff just two weeks after the group was bought by Cazoo.
It is believed up to 300 jobs are at risk at the used car supermarket group which runs 18 sites across the UK.
Just a fortnight after Car Dealer exclusively revealed the used car dealership group was being purchased by previously online-only business Cazoo, cutbacks have begun.
A number of marketing and sponsorship deals set up by Imperial Car Supermarkets prior to the takeover are also believed to have been axed.
A source told Car Dealer that 120 sales staff were due to lose their jobs along with 180 other positions as the car supermarket moves away from face-to-face sales roles in favour of online meetings with customers.
The source said: ‘They are axing most sales roles from the sites and customers will be taken care of by sales staff based centrally with customers talking to them via Zoom.
‘It’s a huge blow to staff. They are telling us this was going to happen with or without Cazoo but not many of us believe that.’
Cazoo – set up by Zoopla founder Alex Chesterman – was designed to be an online-only used car dealer selling cars on its website and delivering them to customers’ homes.
After another cash injection of £25m last month the online dealership has now been valued at £800m.
The firm has raised over £200m and splashed out on expensive television and radio marketing campaigns as well as sponsoring Everton FC in a deal reported to cost £10m a year.
The move to buy used car supermarket group Imperial seemed a strange one for a dealer that had enthused that online sales were the future and shocked the industry.
However, it has billed the acquisition as a way to increase its distribution hubs around the UK and has given it access to much-needed used car stock.
It’s also believed Imperial’s leading preparation centres will help Cazoo cut costs, something it had previously outsourced.
The potential jobs losses are the latest in a series of cuts across the car industry that have seen dealer groups and car manufacturers slash jobs.
It is believed most businesses will be losing around 20 per cent of their staff due to the pandemic and changes to working practices.
In a statement issued by Cazoo to Car Dealer, Imperial Car Supermarkets managing director Mike Bell said the changes that may result in the job losses were underway before Cazoo acquired the group.
He said: ‘We are currently going through a consultation process with certain members of staff at Imperial as a result of both the current market conditions and a change to our sales processes that was already underway at Imperial.
‘It is, of course, our intention to minimise any job losses in this difficult time and we will offer alternative roles wherever possible. This process would have happened regardless of Cazoo buying the business.’
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