Honda has confirmed plans to close its Swindon production plant, resulting in the loss of 3,500 jobs.
News of the closure emerged yesterday afternoon, when sources close to the matter told Sky News that the Japanese carmaker was planning to cease operations at the facility, which produces the popular Civic hatchback, by 2022.
The company, however, has announced that the proposed factory shutdown will instead take place in 2021.
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The Swindon facility is Honda’s only manufacturing plant inside the European Union. The carmaker’s European headquarters, in Bracknell, Berkshire, and its Formula 1 operations base, in Milton Keynes, will not be affected.
Honda’s senior vice president in Europe, Ian Howells, told the BBC that the closure plans are a result of “unprecedented change in the industry on a global scale.”
“This is not a Brexit-related issue for us”, he added. “We’ve always seen Brexit as something we’ll get through, but these changes globally are something we will have to respond to. We deeply regret the impact it will have on the Swindon community.”
Honda’s “intention” is to bolster its manufacturing presence back in Japan in a bid to speed up exports to China, a market where “high production volumes” are anticipated, according to Autocar.
Another “motivating factor” behind the move is the new trade deal between the Japanese government and the EU, the motoring magazine says.
The deal will see the end of the 10% tariff imposed on cars imported from Japan to EU member states, says Auto Express, meaning Honda’s manufacturing presence in the UK will become less critical.
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