Honda to close Swindon plant amid drive for electrification

The move to end production in 2021 will lead to around 3,500 job losses

Honda has announced plans to close its vehicle manufacturing plant in Swindon in response to “unprecedented” global changes and the need to launch electric vehicles (EVs).

The move to end production at the facility – which currently produces around 150,000 cars a year – in 2021 will lead to around 3,500 job losses.

The car manufacturer said it is revising its global manufacturing operations and focusing in regions where it expects to have high production volumes due to the “significant challenges” of electrification.

Katsushi Inoue, Chief Officer for European Regional Operations at Honda Motor Co and President of Honda Motor Europe added: “In light of the unprecedented changes that are affecting our industry, it is vital that we accelerate our electrification strategy and restructure our global operations accordingly.

“As a result, we have had to take this difficult decision to consult our workforce on how we might prepare our manufacturing network for the future. This has not been taken lightly and we deeply regret how unsettling today’s announcement will be for our people.”

The company will be working closely with the workforce and Unite the Union over the coming months.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said the news is a “devastating decision” for Swindon and the UK.

He added: “This news is a particularly bitter blow to the thousands of skilled and dedicated staff who work at the factory, their families and all of those employed in the supply chain. I will convene a taskforce in Swindon with local MPs, civic and business leaders as well as trade union representatives to ensure that the skills and expertise of the workforce is retained and these highly valued employees move into new skilled employment.

“The automotive industry is undergoing a rapid transition to new technology. The UK is one of the leaders in the development of these technologies and so it is deeply disappointing that this decision has been taken now.”

The union has vowed to “fight for jobs” after the announcement of the “dreadful news”.

Unite National Officer Des Quinn said that while the union acknowledges the global challenges facing Honda, it doesn’t “accept that this plant, with its highly skilled and dedicated workforce, does not have a viable future”.

He added: “We are now entering a period of meaningful consultations with the management to examine in detail the business case put forward by the company. We will leave no stone unturned to keep this plant going and its workforce in employment.”

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