Brookhaven-based Cox Automotive is furloughing 12,500 employees around the world for up to 16 weeks as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Cox Automotive is a large car-trading and publishing corporation that owns such brands as Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book and Manheim. Spokesperson Chintan Talati could not provide numbers for furloughs at the company’s headquarters at 3003 Summit Boulevard in Brookhaven’s section of Perimeter Center. Notices filed with the Georgia Department of Labor under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act show 76 Cox Automotive employees affected in the headquarters’ ZIP code, among 879 in metro Atlanta.

The furloughs begin May 17, the company said in a written statement. Those furloughed will remain employees and will retain healthcare benefits. The company had kept everyone on normal pay during the pandemic, the statement said.

“Cox Automotive is experiencing a considerable negative impact on its business due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is taking difficult, yet necessary, steps to temporarily reduce its payroll costs,” the company’s statement said.

Of the 12,500 furloughs, around 10,000 will be in the U.S., and nearly 87% of those are employees of Manheim, an auto auction business. Those furloughs are necessary “due to sharp declines in wholesale transactions and a necessary move to an all-digital format at all Manheim auctions in the U.S.,” the statement said.

About 4,600 full-time workers will be furloughed “because they are unable to substantially perform their duties from home and/or [because their] current workload has been significantly reduced,” the statement said.

The statement said the company is making other cost-cutting moves. Some senior executives are voluntarily forgoing their full base salaries for the duration of the pandemic, including Cox Automotive president and CEO Sandy Schwartz and Alex Taylor, the CEO of parent company Cox Enterprises, which is based in nearby Sandy Springs. Executive leadership will receive 25% pay reductions and senior leadership with titles of vice president and above will receive a 15% pay reduction.

Some hourly employees will have work hours and pay reduces. Most contractors and consultants have been eliminated. The company is hiring only “limited positions to support business demand.”

The company “significantly cut” its marketing budget and has postponed or canceled numerous events and sponsorships.

Other Cox Enterprises businesses are the cable and telecommunications company Cox Communications and Cox Media Group, which owns the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.