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Aston Martin to make 'meaningful' job cuts as part of turnaround plan

[LONDON] British luxury carmaker Aston Martin is planning "meaningful" job cuts as part of a restructuring that will involve the company expanding into electric and "crossover" sport utility vehicles.

Chief executive Andy Palmer, appointed just over a year ago at the company famed for models including the DB5 driven by James Bond in movies such as Goldfinger, is trying to turn around the loss-making carmaker, which saw its sales nosedive after the 2007-8 financial crisis.

Aston, which has suffered from not being part of a wider automotive group, posted a pretax loss of 25.4 million pounds (S$55 million) in 2013, the latest figures available. Its former chief financial officer told Reuters last year he did not expect it to be profitable until after 2016. "There will be a net reduction in the overall workforce at the company," said a spokesman on Thursday, adding the cuts would be "meaningful" but without giving any figures.

The cuts would not affect any production staff at the firm, based at Gaydon in the English Midlands. It had a total workforce of around 2,100 at the start of the year and cuts would come from office staff, the spokesman said.

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The 102-year old company in April raised 200 million pounds from its major shareholders, mainly Kuwaiti and Italian private equity groups, to help fund its model expansion plans, including its first crossover model which mixes features of SUVs and regular saloons.

A decision on the location of a new plant is also expected by the end of the year.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has lobbied for a site in Wales, whereas Palmer said earlier this year the "obvious choice" would be Alabama, where 5 per cent shareholder Daimler already builds Mercedes SUVs.