THE owner of Evans Halshaw and Stratstone has confirmed it is will axe around 1,800 jobs and permanently close 15 of its dealerships.

Pendragon today announced it expects around 400 redundancies as a result of closing its loss-making sites.

It warned a further 1,400 job cuts as part of plans to make its operations "leaner and more sustainable".

The group has dozens of Evans Halshaw dealerships in Tyne and Wear, County Durham and on Teesside.

The cuts come as part of a review started by the firm before the coronavirus crisis hit, which further damaged demand for cars.

Bill Berman, Pendragon chief executive, said: "These have been difficult decisions for the board to make and our priority now is to manage the transition to our new operating model.

"The Covid-19 pandemic is a uniquely challenging situation and we want to protect as many jobs as we can sustainably and the proposed redundancies are, of course, extremely regrettable.

"The actions that we are undertaking are for the long-term health and success of the group and ensure that we emerge from the pandemic as a more competitive and stronger business with the ability to thrive in the future."

It is not yet known which dealerships will be affected by the closure plans.