Brexit blow? Honda to shut only European plant in UK

Honda: Japanese car manufacturer to SHUT Swindon factory | Daily Star

Honda announced on Tuesday that it would shut its sole British plant by 2021, a decision the Japanese carmaker said was not related to Brexit but which Britain deemed deeply disappointing.

It comes after Nissan opted to move production of its new X-Trail model from Sunderland to Japan instead, citing industry headwinds.

The vehicle manufacturer announced on Tuesday morning the closure of the Swindon factory will see 3,500 job losses when the factory closes in 2021.

"Honda has today announced it will restructure its global manufacturing network".

Honda is not the source of media reports on the plant closure, Teruhiko Tatebe, a Tokyo-based spokesman for the automaker, said by telephone.

Honda's announcement would come just over two weeks after bigger Japanese auto maker Nissan canceled plans to build its X-Trail sport utility vehicle in Britain.

When asked if tariffs had anything to do with the decision, Pawl said she was unaware if that played into the decision.




"We are considering adding production of the Civic Hatchback in North America, starting from the next generation model, to serve our customers in the North American market", Honda said in an emailed statement. This means tariffs on Japanese-made cars coming into 27 European countries will be phased out this year, reducing the financial benefit of Honda having a United Kingdom hub.

But the timing of the announcement about the Swindon plant, just 38 days before Brexit, comes after a series of warnings from Japan that it would pull investments if they are no longer economically viable after Britain leaves the bloc. The global automotive industry is facing fundamental changes: "technological, commercial and environmental, as well as escalating trade tensions, and all manufacturers are facing hard decisions", Hawes said.

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

Despite Honda's insistence that the closure is not as a result of Brexit, many have seen the continued uncertainty around it as a key reason for it.

Senior vice-president of Honda Europe Ian Howells said a year ago that Britain leaving the European Union without a deal would cost the company tens of millions of pounds, but that they were preparing for such an outcome.

He denied that Brexit was to blame for the "surprising and shocking news", which he said was down to the firm wanting to take production back to Japan as it develops its electric engines. "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".

And Japanese officials have reportedly become frustrated with their British counterparts as they negotiate a potential post-Brexit trade deal.

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