Honda confirms closure of UK car plant that employs 3,500 in Swindon

Japanese car giant Honda confirms it will close Swindon plant in 2021 with 3,500 job losses

  • The plant in the Wiltshire city currently employs 3,500 workers
  • The Japanese company told workers there was no ‘viable alternative’ to closure
  • Director Jason Smith said: ‘We understand the impact this decision has’

Car giant Honda has confirmed plans to close its UK factory in 2021, with the loss of thousands of jobs.

The Japanese company told workers at the Swindon factory that following a ‘meaningful and robust’ consultation, no viable alternatives to the closure have been found. 

Honda makes its popular Civic model at the factory, 70 miles west of London, which makes 150,000 cars a year.

The plant, which employs 3,500 workers, will close at the end of the current model’s production lifecycle, in 2021.

Honda said a number of organisations and groups took part in the consultation, including the Government and external consultants engaged by the Unite union.  

Reports of the closure first emerged in February, heightening concerns about the impact of Brexit-related uncertainty on the U.K. economy.

Honda said the closure is not Brexit-driven but ‘is part of Honda’s broader global strategy in response to changes to the automotive industry,’ including moving towards electric vehicles. 

The plant, which employs 3,500 workers, will close at the end of the current model’s production lifecycle, in 2021

Honda makes its popular Civic model at the factory, 70 miles west of London.

Director Jason Smith, said: ‘It is with a heavy heart that today we confirm the closure of Honda’s factory in Swindon.

‘We understand the impact this decision has on our associates, suppliers and the wider community.

‘We are committed to continuing to support them throughout the next phases of the consultation process.’ 

The company will now move to discuss redundancy packages and look at the impact on individual roles up until production ends. 

 The move comes amid a fall in demand for diesel cars and tighter emissions rules, with the firm saying the closure is also linked to the need to launch electric vehicles.

Honda is also reacting after the EU and Japan struck a trade deal removing car export tariffs for both, meaning there is little need to base manufacturing in the EU.

The decision to close the plant was attacked by the Unite union.  

National officer Des Quinn said: ‘We await the detailed reasons from Honda, but Unite believes that our alternative case to keep Honda Swindon open added up and was likely to be backed by the Government with public money.

‘It would have made Honda a global leader in emerging battery technology and in a strong position to exploit the growing global market for electric vehicles in the coming years.

‘Instead we have this body blow which is nothing short of a betrayal of the workforce, customers and the wider supply chain which relies on Honda Swindon for work.

‘Unite can only conclude that Honda is taking a strategic decision to retreat out of Europe in favour of protecting its North American operations and avoiding president Trump’s tariff threat on cars made in Europe.

‘Unite will be consulting with its members on our next steps in the coming days.’

Honda first announced plans to shot down the plant in February, less than six months after bosses pledged support for it.

Honda insisted the closure was ‘not a Brexit related issue for us’, but workers and MPs including Richard Burden and Rebecca Long-Bailey lined up to dispute this. 

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