In a press conference held in Japan on 19th February 2019 at 08:00 UK time, Honda confirmed rumours that the Swindon plant will close in 2021 with the loss of 3,500 jobs directly employed and up to 4 times that number in the wider economy employed in the supply chain.
The Swindon plant made 160,000 Honda Civics last year, of which, 90% were exported to the EU and the US.
The statement from Honda in full:
“Honda has today announced it will restructure its global manufacturing network. This restructure comes as Honda accelerates its commitment to electrified cars, in response to the unprecedented changes in the global automotive industry. The significant challenges of electrification will see Honda revise its global manufacturing operations, and focus activity in regions where it expects to have high production volumes.
As a result, Honda of the UK Manufacturing Ltd. has today informed employees of its proposal to close its Swindon vehicle manufacturing plant in the UK in 2021, at the end of the current model’s production lifecycle. The plant currently produces 150,000 cars per year, and employs approximately 3,500 people. Consultation activity will begin today with potentially affected employees.
The global restructure will also involve Honda’s automobile operations in Turkey. Honda Turkiye A.S. currently produces 38,000 units per year. The company will cease manufacturing current Civic sedan model in 2021 and intends to continue its business operations. Honda Turkiye A.S. will continue to hold constructive dialogue with Turkish stakeholders during this period.
Katsushi Inoue, Chief Officer for European Regional Operations, Honda Motor Co., Ltd., and President, Honda Motor Europe said; “In light of the unprecedented changes that are affecting our industry, it is vital that we accelerate our electrification strategy and restructure our global operations accordingly. As a result, we have had to take this difficult decision to consult our workforce on how we might prepare our manufacturing network for the future. This has not been taken lightly and we deeply regret how unsettling today’s announcement will be for our people.”
Honda’s European HQ will continue to be located in the UK. It will be focused on serving the needs of our European customers.”
Recently, Honda announced that it would close for an additional week in April to assess the effects of Brexit as they were particularly concerned about a “No-Deal” Brexit.
The EU-Japan trade deal will see tariffs on cars manufactured in Japan reduce to zero by 2027 making it more attractive for Japanese car makers to bring their manufacturing base back to Japan.