Japanese car manufacturer Honda has confirmed plans to close its Swindon factory in 2021, meaning 3,500 employees now face redundancy.
The company said that after talks with the government and trade unions, it had decided there were “no viable alternatives” to closing the plant, which currently builds the Civic model.
The news that Swindon was under threat first emerged in February, when the firm blamed “unprecedented changes in the global automotive industry”. Since then, Honda has carried out a “meaningful and robust” consultation on whether it could be saved, it said.
Honda’s UK manufacturing director Jason Smith said: “It is with a heavy heart that today we confirm the closure of Honda’s factory in Swindon. We understand the impact this decision has on our associates, suppliers and the wider community. We are committed to continuing to support them throughout the next phases of the consultation process.”
The firm said discussions around redundancy packages for its workers would begin immediately.
When Honda’s intention to shut the factory was first announced, its top UK executive Ian Howells said on top of the 3,500 factory workers employed by Honda, a further 3,500 people in its supply chain could also be affected. “We don’t know the exact impact on these affiliates but they are at risk,” he told the Financial Times.
The firm is moving forward with plans to manufacture more electric cars, which involves consolidating the majority of its manufacturing back to Japan. “Resources, capabilities and production systems for electrified vehicles will be focused in regions with a high volume of customer demand,” it said.
When the news of the potential closure first emerged in February, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) boss Mike Hawes said: “The challenges facing Honda are not unique.
“The global automotive industry is facing fundamental changes: technological, commercial and environmental, as well as escalating trade tensions, and all manufacturers are facing difficult decisions.”
The confirmation of the Swindon plant’s closure comes after City A.M. revealed US car maker Ford is planning to cut up to 550 jobs in Essex.