BMW has announced it will axe 850 jobs at its Mini plant in Oxford after sales of the car had slumped in January.
The company, which produced 235,000 cars at the plant last year, said it would be operating just five days a week instead of seven. Sales of the Mini, made famous by Michael Caine movie The Italian Job, had fallen 34.5% in January to just over 10,100 cars globally.
A company statement said: “While Mini has been weathering the economic downturn, it is not immune from the challenges of the current situation.”
The slump in sales has hit several high-profile car makers worldwide. Nissan, Jaguar, Land Rover, Bentley and General Motors and Toyota have all been forced to cut jobs or slash production and workers’ hours since the start of the recession.
Last month the government said it may top-up the cash of car workers who have had their hours reduced in the downturn. Employers, it said, should ‘cost out’ what cash they needed to subsidise wages.