Mercedes-Benz is considering selling its own car dealerships. Around 8,000 employees are affected. There shouldn’t be any layoffs – but the criticism from the works council is clear.
Mercedes-Benz is putting its company-owned car dealerships in Germany to the test. After good experiences in various European markets, the company is now examining how the group’s own branches can be set up more independently, the company said upon request. Sales to experienced and renowned dealer groups cannot be ruled out. Several media outlets had previously reported.
The Group’s own Mercedes-Benz branches currently employ around 8,000 people in around 80 companies. According to a spokesman, one company can include several car dealerships.
Mercedes: Locations should not be closed
According to the car manufacturer, the review of its own sales structures is carried out in an open-ended, step-by-step manner and for each branch individually. The only possible investor is someone who can demonstrate all the requirements for the best possible operation of a car dealership. In addition to proven expertise in this area, a long-term entrepreneurial concept as well as a sustainable willingness to invest and an openness to employee representatives are important. Furthermore, the locations should not be handed over in their entirety to a buyer.
“We are not planning to sell to pure financial investors, and the closure of locations is not part of the review,” the Stuttgart-based group continued. We stand by the promised job security for all collective bargaining employees until the end of 2029. There will be no layoffs in the event of a possible realignment. Rather, the aim is to secure the future viability of regional jobs and the competitiveness of the branches in the long term. The employee representatives should be closely involved in the review, it said.
Head of the general works council: “Slap in the face”
The general works council, meanwhile, criticized the plans as a “slap in the face” to the employees. “After years of sacrifice and the associated numerous concessions on the part of the employees, the branches are profitable and are making their contribution to the group result,” said works council leader Ergun Lümali. The plans are neither acceptable nor understandable.
Especially in times of transformation, employees need support, consistency and confidence. “We will do everything we can to ensure that employees receive long-term guarantees,” he said. If this does not fall on fertile ground in discussions with the company, resistance will be offered.