Japanese auto maker Honda said on Tuesday, that the closure of the Swindon vehicle plant could see as many as 7,000 potential job losses, due to the supply chain of subsidiaries and partnering companies. (Though it sounds like the folks over at the Rolls-Royce plant in Greenwood could use more production help, so maybe there's work to be had there.) This week, Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo announced the company will be shutting the doors to this United Kingdom facility by 2021. The factory now makes the Honda Civic and is capable of producing as many as 150,000 of the cars a year, CNN reported.
The factory in Swindon, southwest England, which is Honda's only European Union plant, will shut in 2021 "at the end of the current model's production lifecycle", the company said as carmakers worldwide increasingly invest in greener electric vehicles over diesel cars.
The significant challenges of electrification will see Honda revise its global manufacturing operations, and focus its 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.
In presenting the restructuring plan, Hachigo stressed that Honda was striving to adjust to a fast changing global industry. Vehicles manufactured at the Swindon factory are exported to over 70 nations.
The decision had been made "not recklessly", said the response for Europe Honda manager Katsushi Inoue.
The announcement made no mention of Brexit.
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"The UK is one of the leaders in the development of these technologies and so it is deeply disappointing that this decision has been taken now", Business Secretary Greg Clark said.
Analysts said an EU-Japan trade agreement signed recently had likely also played a part in Honda's decision.
Mr Hachigo's comments that the decision was not related to Brexit are unlikely to take the sting out of the job losses for the British public, or politicians, Reuters said. Britain is slated to leave the European Union on March 29.
Earlier this month, Japan's Nissan announced that it would not build a new SUV at its plant in Sunderland, England, as previously planned.
Honda has announced that it will restructure its global manufacturing network.