Honda announces Swindon factory closure

Honda announces Swindon factory closure

Honda will close its only British auto plant in 2021 with the loss of up to 3,500 jobs, a major departure of Japanese investment announced just over a month before the United Kingdom is due to leave the European Union.

Workers at the Wiltshire factory reacted angrily on Monday to the move at a time of turmoil for United Kingdom vehicle manufacturing and fears over the impact of Brexit.

Honda has officially announced plans to close its Swindon factory in 2021, which puts 3,500 jobs in the firing line.

Honda, which said the decision was based on changes in the global vehicle market, will also stop making its popular Civic sedan at its plant in Turkey from 2021, although it plans to continue its operations in that country, Chief Executive Takahiro Hachigo told a news conference in Tokyo. "This decision has been made on the basis of. global changes", Honda Senior Vice President for Europe Ian Howells told BBC Radio. The departure of Honda so soon after Nissan u-turned on a decision to build its X-Trail SUV in Sunderland presents another blow to the current government.

In January, Britain's biggest automaker Jaguar Land Rover said it would cut 10 percent of its workforce, mainly at home, due to sluggish sales to China and a slump in European diesel demand.

When asked if tariffs had anything to do with the decision, Pawl said she was unaware if that played into the decision.

While Honda at Swindon hadn't been running at full capacity for a while, the emergence of rumours around its closure still came as a surprise.

But the timing of the announcement about the Swindon plant, just 38 days before Brexit, comes after a series of warnings from Japan that it would pull investments if they are no longer economically viable after Britain leaves the bloc.

This proposal comes as Honda accelerates its commitment to electrified cars, in response to the unprecedented changes in the global automotive industry. Instead, the production will go to Japan.

Honda is set to announce its Swindon plant will close in 2022, according to a source close to Honda speaking to Sky News.

Brexit talks may have pushed Honda over the edge to make the decision to close its European Union plant.

If Honda's decision is made final, it will add to a growing list of foreign manufacturers that have chose to scale back production in the UK.

And Japanese officials have reportedly become frustrated with their British counterparts as they negotiate a potential post-Brexit trade deal.

Honda said that consultation activity will begin today, and that the company will be working closely with its workforce, including the recognised trade union, Unite the Union, over the months ahead.

The company employs about 3,500 people at the Swindon plant, building around 160,000 Civics a year, more than 90% of which are exported to Europe and the US.

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