Honda to close Swindon factory: 3,500 jobs to go

Honda will close the UK factory in Swindon where it builds the Honda Civic by 2022, according to reports

Honda is closing its Swindon plant where 3,500 people are employed building the new Honda Civic, reports indicate.

The Honda factory in Wiltshire is set to shut permanently in 2022, although the Japanese manufacturer will keep its European headquarters in Bracknell, while its Formula One racing team operations will remain in the UK as well, according to Sky News.

The Swindon plant is Honda’s only factory in the EU, and around 100,000 Civics are built there each year. The factory is currently the only location in the world that builds the Civic Hatch and in 2018, the Civic was the third-best-selling UK-built car globally.

Conservative MP for North Swindon Justin Tomlinson told Auto Express the Swindon plant’s reported closure was totally unrelated to Brexit, with Honda apparently set to close its Turkish factory where it builds the Civic saloon.

“This decision has been made because of global trends and is not related to Brexit,” said Tomlinson. “The Turkey factory will also close as all European market production is being consolidated to Japan where the company is based.

“This consolidation is made easier by the new EU-Japan trade deal which will allow Honda to produce [its] cars in Japan and import them into the EU, rather than produce the cars in Europe.

“Honda have told us today that they will be consulting with all staff and there is not expected to be any job losses or change in production until 2021.”

The news of the Honda Swindon closure is a development on the announcement last week that Honda would be axing around 500 temporary jobs at the factory.

On 1 February 2019, a new trade deal between the EU and Japan came into force. The deal will bring an end to the 10 per cent tariff currently applied to Japanese cars imported into the EU, although this change is being introduced gradually over a period of seven years in order to allow European carmakers to prepare.

Honda UK Manufacturing was founded in 1985 and production at the Swindon engine plant started in 1989. Over the years, Honda has invested a total of around £1.5 billion in the 370-acre site, with models such as the Accord, CR-V and Jazz all being produced there over the years.

A spokesperon for Honda told Auto Express: “At this point, we are not able to make any comments regarding the speculation. We take our responsibilities to our associates very seriously and will always communicate any significant news with them first.”

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