Grimsby motorhome firm hit by ‘perfect storm’ cuts roles

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 7 Dec 2018

MORE than a dozen people are understood to have been made redundant by Grimsby motorhome manufacturer Auto-Trail, after a ‘perfect storm of uncertainty’ hit sales.

Exact figures have not been disclosed, but it is fewer than the maximum 35 roles put at risk when a consultation was launched at the end of October.

Brexit and proposed road fuel reforms have seen the brakes slammed on spending in the sector, with dealers reporting quieter forecourts and the latest national exhibition seeing a 25 per cent drop in footfall.

The French-owned Europarc plant was the subject of a multi-million pound expansion the year before Britain went to the polls on EU membership, as capacity was doubled as the sector enjoyed strong growth.

While sales were strong immediately after, this financial year started with demand down 10 per cent in the first few months. It led to managing director Dave Thomas highlighting a nervous customer base when it comes to “diesel-powered, non-essential luxury items designed to travel across Europe,” as steps were taken to mitigate the impact with the 260-strong workforce.

Read more: Swift caravan workers forced to take time off work as hours are cut - here's what the firm has to say

In an update, following the consultation ending, he said: “We have released a number of people, but not as many as we thought. We also had some voluntary redundancies.”

Looking ahead, with a Brexit deal still not guaranteed as Westminster debates terms of the divorce period, Mr Thomas said: “It is a case of wait and see on the economy. We are stable, but we have one eye on the horizon.”

The move is designed to slow down production, with apprentices in the Auto-Trail academy, set up to provide skills required internally, protectively ring-fenced in the process.

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