Honda confirms Swindon plant will close in 2021

Honda CR-V

Honda CR-V

The Swindon plant produces more than 10% of all the cars made in Britain, and now employs some 3,500 workers. The possibility is consistent with the language Honda used in its Swindon closure announcement, in which the company said it plans to "focus activity in regions where it expects to have high production volumes".

"We've always seen Brexit as something we'll get through, but these changes globally are something we will have to respond to", Ian Howells, the senior vice president for Honda in Europe, told the BBC in a statement.

There was no mention of Brexit or falling diesel demand in Honda's statement - two reasons which have been a recurring factor in other auto makers' reasoning for problems.

Consultation with potentially affected employees will begin today, Honda says.

Local Tory and Brexiteer MP Justin Tomlinson confirmed the news, insisting that the decision "is based on global trends and not Brexit as all European market production will consolidate in Japan in 2021". Nissan said, "While we have taken this decision for business reasons, the continued uncertainty around the U.K.'s future relationship with the European Union is not helping companies like ours to plan for the future".

He said that China, the US and Japan were where the firm would focus its investments. "We are committed to supporting associates to help them through this hard time".

Honda announced on Tuesday a series of global restructuring efforts that will affect several manufacturing facilities around the world, including its Honda of the UK Manufacturing Ltd. plant in Swindon and the Honda Turkiye A.S. facility in Kocaeli, Turkey. "This is a commercial decision based on unprecedented changes in the global market". The closure, the biggest since 2005, would affect thousands more jobs across Honda's United Kingdom supply chain, he said.

Automakers face pressure to invest large amounts of money in new technologies such as electric and autonomous cars to meet air pollution limits in Europe and China and fend off competition from tech companies such as Uber and Waymo.

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Analysts say that while Brexit was nearly certainly a factor for Honda, other reasons were likely to have played a part, including a massive EU-Japan free-trade agreement recently signed and the wider struggles of the vehicle industry.

"Given the size of the operation, there will be a wide and diverse network of regional suppliers that will now be hugely concerned about their future business prospects".

But later that year, amidst many businesses presenting their Brexit concerns, Mr Farage called the manufacturing industry too small to listen to, adding: "Manufacturing is 10 percent of the United Kingdom economy, and you've got to think about the rest of it".

The carmaker said in a statement that "we are not able to make any comments regarding the speculation".

"There's about 12 companies in Wales we are working with, which are strategic".

"We will leave no stone unturned to keep this plant going and its workforce in employment. That's why Unite will be making every effort to avoid that catastrophic outcome".

He said: "Devastated. That's all I can say".

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