Mercedes and Smart face marketing redundancies

Marketing jobs at Mercedes-Benz and Smart could be at risk after parent company DaimlerChrysler announced it is to make 130 UK staff redundant out of a total slightly above 850.

The company has started a 90-day consultation period as part of a restructure of its UK division in order to “maintain its competitive edge”. It says it is a “regrettable but unavoidable step” and adds: “The company will be doing everything in its power to assist staff who are made redundant in finding alternative employment.”

A spokeswoman says she cannot comment on whether the marketing departments of DaimlerChrysler’s brands will be affected, but adds that the review is being conducted across the whole business.

Mercedes marketing director is Nick Ratcliffe, who reports directly to UK managing director Dermot Kelly. Ratcliffe oversees Mercedes’ &£14m advertising account, which is handled by Campbell Doyle Dye.

The future of Smart’s UK management team was already uncertain following a shake-up at Daimler Chrysler earlier this year.

There has been speculation about the roles of Smart UK head Jeremy Simpson and marketing chief Sam Bridger since the company’s decision to restructure the brand in an attempt to achieve profitability for the first time by 2007.

DaimlerChrysler said in April that it was moving key tasks into the Mercedes-Benz Passenger Cars Group. Smart spends &£10m a year on advertising and its creative account is handled by Farm. However, it said earlier this year that it was slashing its promotional budget and scrapping television advertising.

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