Honda to close UK car plant with the loss of 3,500 jobs

Roman Schwartz
February 19, 2019

Sky News said that the announcement by Honda could come on Tuesday, and that the plant was scheduled to close in 2022.

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

Honda said it would not be providing any comment on the " speculation".

Since the referendum, the Japanese government, its United Kingdom ambassador and company managements have repeatedly warned about the corrosive effect of Brexit uncertainty and the possibility of losing frictionless trade with the EU.

Speaking in September, Ian Howells, the senior vice-president of Honda Europe, said the company remained "right behind" its production facility in Swindon and was not considering moving the plant out of the United Kingdom after Brexit.

It has also said it was preparing to front-load some production at its plant to ship overseas or build up inventories.

Justin Tomlinson, the MP for North Swindon. The Japanese giant's sprawling 370-acre Swindon site is its only European auto production facility, containing a casting plant alongside its engine and vehicle assembly lines.

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At the time, Honda said it would make the United Kingdom its production hub for the Civic, with the model being exported to more than 70 countries around the world, including North America and Canada.

Martin Lane, Managing Editor of money.co.uk told Express.co.uk: "It's distressing news for Honda employees and their families, especially as Honda's leaving staff in limbo over their fate by not commenting on the matter".

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The Swindon plant produces more than 100,000 Civic models for customers all over the world, and is the firm's only factory in the EU.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) had warned the industry was on "red alert", with figures suggesting vehicle production had slumped by nearly a 10th a year ago.

The Unite union, which represents workers at the Swindon plant, is seeking clarification from Honda, Des Quinn, national officer for the automotive sector, said in an email.

According to reporting from Autocar, a new deal between the European Union and Japan is also a significant factor.

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