Honda has confirmed it is planning to close down its Swindon plant in 2021, leading to the loss of around 3,500 jobs.
In a huge blow to the UK’s automotive industry, the Japanese manufacturer says the decision to consider closing the factory is due to the shift towards electrified vehicles and is not related to Brexit.
The Swindon plant is Honda’s only facility in Europe, producing the Civic for European and American markets – exporting to more than 70 countries.
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, Inoue said: “We have had to take this difficult decision to consult our workforce on how we might prepare our manufacturing network for the future.”
He added: “This has not been taken lightly and we deeply regret how unsettling today’s announcement will be for our people.”
Honda’s Swindon plant produced 150,000 vehicles per year and has made more than 3 million cars in the last 30 years.
The announcement comes just weeks after Nissan announced that it will not be producing the new X-Trail in the UK, and months after the EU signed a free trade deal with Japan.
Honda said consultation activity will begin immediately, and it will be working closely with its workforce, including the recognised trade union, Unite the Union, over the months ahead.