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Honda plans to close Swindon plant with 3,400 jobs at risk

20 February, 2019, 04:40 | Author: Lawrence Cooper
  • Honda CR-V

Sky News reports Honda is closing its plant in Swindon which will result in a massive loss of 3,500 jobs.

A journalist looks at a projection about Honda's British factory while Honda Motor Chief Executive Takahiro Hachigo (not in the picture) speaks at a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, February 19, 2019.

"To ensure Honda is well placed to adjust to all possible outcomes, we are planning six non-production days in April".

The Honda Civic hatchback plant employs about 3,500 people plus another 3,500 from subsidiaries and supply chain partners who rely on the plant, which the automaker said will close in 2021.

As you may recall, Honda has big plans for electrification.

Honda has been keen to emphasise, however, the closure is strictly related to the challenges facing the global vehicle manufacturing business and that it is seeking to consolidate production in its home country of Japan.

Swindon is the firm's only factory in the European Union, where it produces 100,000 Civic cars, but it doesn't blame Brexit for the closure.

Like many of its global rivals, Honda is trying to streamline its operations as it invests heavily to develop electric vehicles and self-driving cars, transforming itself from simply a manufacturer of cars into a mobility company.

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"If the government had delivered a strong and stable Brexit that protected the economy and jobs, we may well have been in a very different position today", Unite official Des Quinn said.

"Regardless, this is a devastating decision for Swindon and the UK", Clark said in a statement.

The agreement will come into force in March and allow Honda to shift production of the Civic back to Japan.

Ford Motor, announcing thousands of job cuts in Europe this year, last week said a hard Brexit would be " catastrophic" for the United Kingdom auto industry and its own production facilities. Similarly, Honda has not stated any intention to close its European HQ, which is based in Bracknell. Although it was reported to be business-based decision by Honda, online commentators linked the expected shut-down to Brexit uncertainty.

L Alan Winters, director of the UK Trade Policy Observatory at the University of Sussex, said that the backdrop of Brexit means that the UK is less able to respond to challenges in the industry.

Labour MP Rachel Reeves, chairman of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy committee, described the how the closure would be "devastating for Swindon, for jobs, for the supply-chain, and for the UK's auto industry".

"Honda seems to have been preparing for this for a long time".

The most significant factor, however, according to Autocar at least, is believed to be Japan's recently signed trade deal with the European Union.

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