Honda struck the latest blow to the UK's car industry, announcing plans to close its Swindon manufacturing plant by 2021, with the loss of 3,500 jobs
Honda struck the latest blow to the UK's car industry, announcing plans to close its Swindon manufacturing plant by 2021.
The Japanese car maker currently hires around 3,500 people in its Swindon factory, which produces about 10% of all cars in Britain.
In a statement, Honda said its restructuring plans came in response to the "unprecedented changes in the global automotive industry".
Prime Minister Theresa May expressed her disappointment to the president of the Japanese car giant, while Britain's Business Secretary Greg Clark told parliament the closure is a blow to the whole British economy.
"It's a blow to the whole British economy. Shortly, I will chair in Swindon, the first meeting of a task force, comprising these people and others to do everything we can to ensure that the much valued workforce of Honda in Swindon find new opportunities, which can make use of their skills and experience," Britain's Business Secretary Greg Clark told parliament.
In a press conference, Honda's chief executive Takahiro Hachigo suggested that the decision is not influenced by Britain’s plans to leave the EU, with the restructuring plans coming in response to the changes in the global automotive industry.
"As you know, the industry faces a shift. Under these conditions, for Honda to survive, we must provide our products quickly so that we can cover the needs of our customers," he said.
The decision to close the Swindon factory comes just a few weeks after Nissan's decision to manufacture the SUV X-Trail only in Japan and not in Britain.
For workers at the Honda factory in Swindon, tomorrow brings uncertainty and fear.
"Obviously, as you can imagine, the reaction is terrible, doom and gloom. Lots of families, lots of people with children, like ourselves. So, yeah, gutted really, absolutely gutted," one Honda worker said in reaction to news of the closure.
Honda manufactures 150,000 Honda Civic cars a year at the Swindon plant, the Japanese car giant's only factory in the European Union.