Cheshire-based car maker Bentley has confirmed it is to cut up to 1,000 jobs under a "voluntary release programme"

And the company says it cannot rule out future compulsory redundancies.

Bentley said significant effects on its short-term financial outlook means that with "deepest regret" it has informed its 4,200 workers of a programme to significantly reduce the size of the organisation.

Adrian Hallmark, chief executive officer of Bentley Motors, said: "Losing colleagues is not something we are treating lightly but this is a necessary step that we have to take to safeguard the jobs of the vast majority who will remain, and deliver a sustainable business model for the future through our Beyond100 strategy."

"The voluntary release programme at least allows the colleagues to make the personal choice and leave us with the most appealing and supportive offer possible within the circumstances.

Adrian Hallmark, chief executive officer of Bentley Motors
Credit: ITV News

Letters have been sent to workers outlining offers of personal financial terms based on length of service, age and salary.

The Unite union, which represents the workforce said the news was a ‘heavy blow’.

“Bentley is a name known around the world for the quality of its vehicles, thanks in large part to the expertise of this highly dedicated and superb workforce.

Steve Bush, Unite the Union
Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/PA Images

It comes just weeks after the manufacturer, which was founded in north London in 1919 and is now owned by Volkswagen, resumed production at its headquarters in Crewe on May 11.

Bentley is also providing financial support on career guidance for workers who choose to pursue a new professional direction.

Meanwhile, car dealership Lookers has announced it will axe about 1,500 jobs and shut 12 showrooms.

Lookers said it was launching redundancy consultations across all areas of the group which are expected to see around 1,500 jobs go among its 8,100-strong workforce.

It comes as the Altrincham-based group revealed it will shut another 12 sites - either by closure, merging with other showrooms or refranchising - on top of the 15 dealerships being closed under plans announced in November.

The closures will leave it with 136 dealerships across the UK.

It emerged last month that rival car dealership Pendragon had held talks with Lookers over a potential merger but failed to secure a deal.