Honda Shuts Factory in United Kingdom but Avoids Blaming Brexit

Honda is reportedly set to announce swingeing cuts to its Wiltshire manufacturing

The Japanese auto maker, which would not confirm the news to Reuters, said last month it would reduce the production volumes in Swindon and cut some jobs at the plant.

If confirmed the move will deal a massive blow to Britain's automotive sector just 40 days before Brexit.

Honda has confirmed that it will close its factory in Swindon in the United Kingdom with the loss of 3,500 jobs.

Honda will also stop producing the Civic in Turkey (though it will maintain operations in that country) as part of a wider global restructuring. "Honda. They are clear this is based on global trends and not Brexit as all European market production will consolidate in Japan in 2021", he tweeted.

That has quickly unraveled, with Nissan this month reneging on plans to build the X-Trail sport utility vehicle in Sunderland - partly due to the unresolved status of EU-UK trade after Brexit.

For Honda, declining demand for diesel vehicles and tougher emissions regulations have also clouded its manufacturing prospects in Europe, which accounts for just 3 per cent of its global sales. And guess what sort of engines Honda's Swindon plant produces. All Civic hatchbacks in the US, including the Civic Type R, are made at the Swindon factory.

The Japanese giant is expected to announce today that the Swindon plant will be shut down by 2022.

This proposal comes as Honda accelerates its commitment to electrified cars, in response to the unprecedented changes in the global automotive industry.

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A new trade deal between the European Union and Japan will see tariffs on cars exported from Japan to Europe reduced to zero over time.

"This is a devastating decision for Swindon and the U.K.", Clark said.

Staff in the Wiltshire town - which voted 55% in favour of Brexit in the 2016 referendum - said they were angry about the development.

His warning came as it emerged Theresa May personally called the President of Honda to express her "disappointment" at the decision, which threatens 3,500 jobs.

Speculation yesterday suggested continuing uncertainty over Brexit, with possible tariffs when exporting to Europe in a no-deal scenario, could be a factor in any decision to close the factory.

The Swindon plant, which now employs 3,500 people and produces engines and the Civic sedan, is not the company's only cutback. "I will work with Justin Tomlinson, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Swindon Council, the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership, unions and other agencies to support everyone affected in the months ahead".

He added: "While Brexit is not mentioned by the company as a reason for the announcement, we believe that the uncertainty that the Tory government has created by its inept and rigid handling of the Brexit negotiations lurks in the background".

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