Staff air frustration as Cazoo closes used car refurbishment centres


Staff at Cazoo’s former SMH Fleet Solutions (SMH) used car refurbishment centre in Gloucester lamented the loss of the sprawling automotive business as it prepared to close its doors for the last time today.

Part of a £70 million SMH acquisition completed by the online used car retailer as it channelled its venture capitalist funding into rapid growth plans in September 2021, the site has become the latest casualty in a series of closures and disposals as the business bids to cut costs by £200 million by the end of this year.

Staff at Cazoo’s Westbury refurbishment centre also hit out at the business as it prepared to close its doors today.

Cazoo has already exited its European markets and AM reported last week that it had axed 15 of its 22 used car handover centres – developed through the acquisition of Imperial Cars – from its website this month, despite ongoing consultation with staff over redundancies.

Today, former SMH Fleet Solutions (SMH) general manager Richard Graves took to LinkedIn to mark the end of his time at Cazoo’s Gloucester refurb centre, which he said had been “home for the last four years”.

In his post Graves said: “Today is the last day for Cazoo Gloucester with no sight of its re-emergence.

“The staff who ran this site are amazing and dedicated to the work they achieved, many will start new roles soon, but everyone wants to see their good work continue.

“When it was run by SMH Fleet Solutions it had multiple customers and revenue streams, ranging from new vehicle PDI, in fleet maintenance, pool fleet management and defleet with auctions and collections.

“The site is even better now after investment and is ready to make a significant mark on the automotive sector.

“I cross my fingers for all the professional automotive experts that remain hopeful about its future.”

One respondent to Graves’ message described the closure of the Gloucester site as a “waste of talent”.

Westbury’s local newspaper, the Gazette and Herald, reported that around 50 of the sites 150 employees were expected to attend an emotional farewell event marking its closure today.

One member of staff told the publication that Cazoo had “ruined” the once profitable Westbury operation.

Cazoo, launched in December 2019, was valued at $7bn (over £5.2bn) when it was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in August 2021.

It now has a market capitalisation of $86.50m (£72.08m).

The business is expected to publish its annual financial results for 2022 on March 30.



Leave a comment