February 19, 2019 @ 10:29 by Richard Dawson
Honda UK Manufacturing (HUM) has today (Feb 19) informed associates of the proposal to close its Swindon vehicle manufacturing plant, at the end of the current model’s production lifecycle, in 2021. The plant currently produces 150,000 cars per year, and employs circa 3500 associates.
The announcement comes at a time of ongoing challenges for the UK automotive industry. In January, Jaguar Land Rover revealed that it would have to cut up to 5000 jobs across the UK and just two weeks ago, Nissan confirmed that it had cancelled plans to produce the new X-Trail at its Sunderland factory here in the North East.
Scores of North East firms are suppliers to Honda and other giants of the automotive industry and will no doubt have concerns about their future, following these announcements.
In its statement, Honda made no reference to the UK’s imminent departure from the European Union, and instead referred to unprecedented changes in the global automotive industry as reason for its decision.
Katsushi Inoue, chief officer for European Regional Operations at Honda Motor Co Ltd and president of 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, we have had to take this difficult decision to consult our workforce on how we might prepare our manufacturing network for the future. This has not been taken lightly and we deeply regret how unsettling today’s announcement will be for our people.”
HUM director, Jason Smith, added: “We understand the impact this proposal will have on our associates, wider supplier base and the local community. We are committed to supporting associates to help them through this difficult time.”