The company says it didn't take the decision to cut 3,500 jobs lightly, but with global changes it was left with no choice.
Last month Honda announced plans for a six-day shutdown to prepare for any Brexit-related disruption. In a worst case, it could lead to heavy tariffs and border checks, raising costs and slowing deliveries. Manufacturers have in recent weeks lined up to warn that uncertainty caused by Brexit has made conditions for investment in the United Kingdom more hard, and this latest decision is another warning that Brexit could put British jobs on the line.
"If the government had delivered a strong and stable Brexit that protected the economy and jobs, we may well have been in a very different position today", Unite official Des Quinn said. "We have to wait until we have a better idea about the situation".
"The planned closure of the Swindon plant will have a major impact across the area, affecting not only many employees on site but also firms and staff across the supply chain".
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The next model of Civic to be sold in Britain will be exported from Japan. The plant in Turkey now makes 38,000 units per year. The company will cease manufacturing current Civic sedan model in 2021 and intends to continue its business operations.
British businesses are issuing increasingly urgent warnings about the damage being done by the lack of clarity surrounding Britain's divorce from the EU.
Barring a Brexit deal that gives the United Kingdom easy access to the European Union, it won't be possible to reverse the Japanese exodus, Han Dorussen, a professor in the department of Government at the University of Essex, wrote this month in a report. "This decision has been made on the basis of global changes", Honda Senior Vice President for Europe, Ian Howells, said. "We have to move more quickly". The closure, the biggest since 2005, would affect thousands more jobs across Honda's United Kingdom supply chain, he said.
What about the EU-Japan trade deal?The uncertainty has already led many firms to shift some operations overseas, stockpile goods or defer investment decisions.
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The proper response to the Honda announcement, by the way, is not the unseemly tit-for-tat about what caused it but to mourn what it means for the future of manufacturing and manufacturing jobs in this country - described here last week - now that another jewel in the crown is shutting up shop.
Des Quinn, for the Unite union, said a closure would represent "a shattering body blow at the heart of United Kingdom manufacturing".
Nissan, Honda and a third Japanese car-maker, Toyota, together account for roughly half of the cars built in Britain. "The global economy is slowing down, which has hit key markets such as the USA and China". The U.K.is most at risk nearly half of the cars made in the country are Japanese branded, and Japanese automakers want to increase utilization of plants at home.
Honda's electric auto strategy will see it move activity only to regions where it expects to be able to hit high production numbers, which do not include the UK. Despite much back-and-forth among lawmakers, the United Kingdom now has no detailed plan on how that will happen. "That's why huge numbers will be marching through London on March 23rd, demanding any Brexit deal is put to the people".
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