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Thursday, 11 October, 2001, 17:11 GMT 18:11 UK
Rolls Royce on three-day week
Rolls Royce
America makes up 45% of the global market
Workers at Rolls Royce and Bentley are to operate a three-day week after a slump in sales following the attacks on the United States.

Sales of the luxury cars have fallen by 60% in America since September 11.

More than 800 manufacturing staff at the plant in Crewe, Cheshire, have been told they will be working a shorter week by November.

Company spokeswoman Deborah Risby said the terrorist attacks have had a major effect on American sales.

The reality is that you cannot keep making cars if customers in our primary market are not buying them

Deborah Risby, spokeswoman

"The events of 11 September have had a severe effect on sales in the USA, which accounts for 45% of our total sales globally.

"The immediate impact has seen a fall of sales by more than 60%."

As well as some employees working a shorter week, all 2,500 workers will be ordered to take an extra three days in addition to the annual two-week Christmas shutdown.

The affected staff will be working a three-day week by 29 October with no loss of pay.

'Difficult decision'

"It was a difficult decision to make but the reality is that you cannot keep making cars if customers in our primary market are not buying them," said Ms Risby.

"This is bad news but it should be seen in the wider context that Bentley sales are up by 3% globally and that none of our associates have lost their jobs or any money.

"We operate a time banking system whereby time accrued to the business will be used when business picks up again."

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd in Crewe was bought by German company Volkswagen in summer 1998.

However BMW take over the Rolls Royce brand in 2003 with Volkswagen retaining Bentley.

See also:

23 Aug 01 | Business
Rolls-Royce profits dip
22 May 01 | UK
Car factory plan rolls on
04 May 01 | Business
The road ahead for UK car makers
02 Mar 01 | Business
Rolls-Royce shares jump 12%
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