Car distribution giant Inchcape to lay off 120 workers in Singapore

Potential car buyers at Borneo Motors’ Leng Kee Showroom, on May 29, 2016. PHOTO: ST FILE

About 120 employees from Toyota agent Borneo Motors and Suzuki agent Champion Motors will be retrenched in the coming weeks, in one of the largest downsizing exercises to hit the local motor industry, The Straits Times has learnt.

Their parent company, vehicle distribution giant Inchcape, is restructuring its operations here.

The cohort represents 12 per cent to 14 per cent of Inchcape's headcount in Singapore.

Mr Koh Ching Hong, 57, Inchcape's chief executive for South Asia and managing director of Borneo Motors, will also leave his post at the end of next month.

The latest retrenchments come amid a gloomy economic outlook.

Manpower Ministry figures show that 12,010 workers were retrenched in the first three quarters of this year.

The news has come as a surprise to industry observers, given Inchcape's profitability in Singapore and its record sales. Borneo Motors has been topping sales charts consistently in recent years.

Observers reckon the move could be part of Inchcape's strategy to streamline its operations in preparation for expected economic headwinds.

The Straits Times understands the restructuring will also involve moving finance and IT functions out of Singapore.

Inchcape was unable to respond to queries by press time.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 30, 2016, with the headline Car distribution giant Inchcape to lay off 120 workers in Singapore. Subscribe