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Honda confirms UK car factory closure

Alexander Pearson
May 13, 2019

Thousands of workers at the Japanese car manufacturer's plant in Swindon are set to lose their jobs. Honda's president previously said the move had nothing to do with the United Kingdom's exit from the EU.

File photo dated 19/02/19 of a sign outside the Honda plant in Swindon.
Image: picture-alliance/empics/B. Birchall

Honda confirmed on Monday that it would close its Swindon car factory in 2021, with some 3,500 workers expected to lose their jobs.

"It is with a heavy heart that today we confirm the closure of Honda's factory in Swindon," said Honda's UK chief, Jason Smith. The company first announced its intention to close the plant in February.

The Japanese car manufacturer said the move was part of its plans to electrify its fleet, which will involve focusing production in areas of the world where there is a higher demand for electric vehicles.

In February, Honda President Takahiro Hachigo said the Swindon closure was "not related" to the UK's planned exit from the European Union.

British and European businesses have warned that the country's departure from the bloc would harm UK-based car manufacturers.

Honda's Japanese rival Nissan said in early February that uncertainty around Brexit was one factor behind the company's decision to cancel production of an SUV in the northeastern town of Sunderland.

Honda's Swindon plant, which focuses on production of the compact Civic car, accounts for more than 10% of the UK's total car output. The company said it would start looking into how to mitigate the effects of the expected job losses on the wider community. It's among Swindon's biggest employers and, in terms of turnover, is among the top 10 companies operating in England's southwest.

"We are committed to continuing to support them throughout the next phases of the consultation process," Smith said.

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