Lookers bids to extend Mercedes showroom despite hundreds of staff facing redundancy

  • Lookers applies for planning permission to expand Wolverhampton Mercedes site
  • Dealer group wants to demolish existing buildings and replace them with new showrooms
  • Outfit also plans to create new offices and workshop as part of major redevelopment
  • News comes as up to ten per cent of Lookers workforce is facing redundancy

Time 8:30 am, December 12, 2023

Lookers is seeking a major expansion to its Wolverhampton Mercedes showroom as staff across the dealer group continue to fear for their futures.

Car Dealer reported this morning (Dec 12) that business managers and sales teams are now facing job losses after the firm was sold earlier this year.

That came after 75 per cent of employees at the group’s central office were either made redundant, or put at risk, last week.

Among the figures to depart the Car Dealer Top 100 outfit will be CEO Mark Raban, who will step down at the end of the year.

The wave of redundancies could see as many as 650 staff lose their jobs – ten per cent of the group’s 6,500-strong workforce – but the firm is still looking to invest where necessary.

It has launched a planning application with Wolverhampton Council to demolish the existing buildings on its Mercedes site in the West Midlands city.

In their place, bosses want to construct two new showrooms, a workshop and offices, in a project likely to cost millions of pounds.

A statement from Taylor Design Architects, acting on behalf of Lookers, said: ‘The site is currently occupied by two buildings which are central to the area, and the plan is to demolish both of these to make way for new dealership buildings.

‘The works include the demolition of two existing buildings – a Mercedes Benz showroom or workshop building and a small workshop or office building, currently vacant, and the construction of a new building containing a showroom, two linked smaller showrooms, a vehicle workshop, Smart repair, valeting facilities and associated offices and staff facilities.’

The Express and Star reports that the application also includes plans for 43 customer parking spaces, as well as 84 display spaces and 64 compound parking spaces.

An eight-space bike shed is also being proposed for staff who choose to cycle to work.

A decision on the application is expected in the near future. The public can have their say here.

Lookers was taken private in a 130p per share deal this summer that saw the firm leave the stock market on October 9.

Global Auto Holdings had originally offered 120p a share but that was rejected by the largest shareholder Cinch. Global then came back with an offer of 130p a share, valuing the dealership chain at £504.2m. Cinch agreed to it and the deal was sealed.

This is the second time in just over three years that Lookers has slashed jobs. In June 2020, at the height of the pandemic, it cut 1,500 jobs – 20% of its then workforce – and closed 12 dealerships in an effort to save costs.

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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