Car dealership giant Charles Hurst to lay off 100 staff in Belfast

Parent company Lookers says a certain number of corporate and support roles relating to its status as a listed company may be affected

The Ferrari and Bentley dealership at Charles Hurst, whose parent company Lookers said it enjoyed £1.1 billion in sales of new vehicles in the six months to the end of June

The north’s largest motor group Charles Hurst is set to make up to 100 redundancies, including cuts to its sales staff and management team.

It it understood staff were told of the lay-offs in an internal memo.

Part of the Manchester-headquartered Lookers Group, the company has eight sites across Northern Ireland and two in the Republic, and it employs 870 staff.

In its most recent set of accounts covering the 2022 calendar year, Charles Hurst Ltd increased its sales to £714 million and made a profit of £16.3 million.

In October Charles Hurst’s parent was acquired by Ontario-based car dealership Global Auto Holdings in a deal worth more than £500 million.

Last week, Lookers confirmed that a certain number of corporate and support roles relating to its status as a listed company may be affected.

A spokesman said: “We have now completed a detailed review of our business and operations in order to keep the business efficient and ensure we have a manageable cost base.

“Unfortunately, a number of roles have been identified across our operations that are now at risk of redundancy.”

Founded in Belfast in 1911 at the cusp of a global driving revolution, Charles Hurst has become a motoring powerhouse through investment, growth and continuous innovation.

Its headquarters on Belfast’s Boucher Road is the largest automotive retail park in Europe, and the dealership offers 25 vehicle manufacturers and brands, from Aston Martin, Lotus and Bentley to Vauxhall, Nissan, Toyota and CUPRA.

Just last November it confirmed an exclusive new partnership with iconic performance car brand Lotus which saw it open a new state-of-the-art Lotus showroom in Belfast.

Charles Hurst redundancies
Staff at Charles Hurst celebrate winning nine awards at the the inaugural Northern Ireland Motor Industry Awards

At the inaugural Northern Ireland Motor Industry Awards in November, Charles Hurst dominated by taking nine of its 19 awards, including Dealer Group of the Year, Best Employer Excellence and Franchise Dealer of the Year.

Afterwards, group operations director Jeff McCartney praised Charles Hurst’s “dedicated and hard-working teams” and described the company as “future-focused, ambitious and growing”.

A Top 100 NI company for several decades, Charles Hurst has invested more than £8 million in its dealership estate since the start of this year, increasing choice and creating new jobs as part of an ambitious strategy to drive new growth.

A recent £2 million investment in a CUPRA dealership forms part of its recent major investment, in addition to a £2.2 million investment in a new Toyota showroom, around £1 million to refurbish and relaunch two Nissan dealerships in Belfast and Newtownards, and £3 million in a significant redevelopment of its parts centre on Boucher Road.