Honda set to close its UK Swindon car plant, 3,500 jobs at risk

Brian Robert Marshall / Honda of the UK Manufacturing plant, South Marston, Swindon / CC BY-SA 2.0

Honda is set to announce that it will close its Swindon car plant in 2022, with the potential loss of 3,500 jobs, according to media reports and a local lawmaker.

Honda has not made an official announcement yet and Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesperson said that there would be no comment from the PM until an official confirmation.

However, Tory MP for North Swindon Justin Tomlinson said in a Tweet that he had spoken to Honda, adding that they had made it clear that the decision “is based on global trends and not Brexit as all European market production will consolidate in Japan in 2021.”

Tomlinson said in a later tweet, “Working with Honda, Gov (led by the Business Secretary), staff and Unions there will be a taskforce set up to provide support for all staff (as we did when jobs were lost previously at Honda).”

“Honda will be consulting with all staff and there is not expected to be any job losses, or changes in production until 2021,” Tomlinson added.

Shutting down the Swindon plant would be the first closure of a car factory in the UK since Peugeot closed its Ryton production plant in Coventry in 2007.

Over 160,000 vehicles were built at the Swindon factory last year. Production output at the facility, where Honda builds its Civic Hatchback and Type R, accounts for a little over 10 percent of the UK’s total output of 1.52 million cars.

Swindon councillor Emma Faramazi said: “I’m very disappointed, but we don’t have a full picture yet.”

The Unite union said that if the reports are true, it would be a “shattering body blow”.

National officer Des Quinn was quoted by the BBC as saying: “The car industry in the UK over the last two decades has been the jewel in the crown for the manufacturing sector – and now it has been brought low by the chaotic Brexit uncertainty created by the rigid approach adopted by prime minister Theresa May.”