Up to 650 jobs have been placed at risk at Alexander Dennis (ADL) and Plaxton because of a “significant decline” in UK demand for new coaches and buses, the manufacturer has announced.

ADL says it has been forced to initiate a restructuring programme to counteract difficult market conditions. It had already utilised the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), implemented salary and working hours reductions and introduced “stringent” cost saving measures across all business functions. Those steps have proved insufficient to align its cost base to economic reality, it adds.

A formal consultation on the restructuring programme will begin in the coming weeks. Jobs are at risk at all of ADL’s facilities in the UK. The restructuring will move ADL towards “a leaner, more flexible manufacturing model that maintains its strong customer focus and best-in-class aftermarket support.”

Chief Executive Colin Robertson says that earlier in 2020, ADL was looking forward to a record year of sales. “All of that changed with the impact of coronavirus COVID-19,” he adds.

“Since March, we have been in constant dialogue with the UK and Scottish governments to make them aware of the unprecedented crisis facing our industry. We are deeply grateful for the support offered by CJRS and we are heartened by the Prime Minister’s reiteration earlier this month of his pledge made in February to bring 4,000 new green buses into service.

“We continue to call upon both governments to act now to prevent further job cuts and preserve the UK’s world-leading coach and bus manufacturing industry.”

Mr Robertson continues his transition from ADL Chief Executive to becoming a member of parent company NFI’s board as Vice Chair. Paul Davies will head the company as President and Managing Director after Mr Robertson’s move is complete.

The jobs that are now at risk at ADL form part of a wider restructuring programme announced by NFI. That will affect ADL’s sister companies in the United States and Canada. In addition, ADL’s spare parts business in North America will be consolidated into NFI Parts.