Honda to close Swindon factory, putting 3500 jobs at risk

A mechanic works on a Honda engine

The Swindon plant produces more than 100,000 Civic models and is the firm’s only factory in the EU

A report at Sky News claims that the Japanese carmaker will confirm the closure of its Swindon plant over the next few days, with the factory being shut down when the current Civic model cycle expires in 2022.

The Japanese company made 160,000 Honda Civics in Swindon previous year, of which some 90% were exported to the EU.

United Kingdom -made products also risk being disadvantaged by a new treaty that will gradually eliminate tariffs on Japanese imports to the European Union, though Tomlinson, a pro-Brexit Tory, said the divorce wasn't a factor in Honda's move.

According to North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson, Honda's decision is based on global trends and not Brexit.

Representatives at Honda were not immediately available to comment.

"They are clear this is based on global trends and not Brexit", Tomlinson said.

Since the referendum, the Japanese government, its United Kingdom ambassador and company managements have repeatedly warned about the corrosive effect of Brexit uncertainty and the possibility of losing frictionless trade with the EU.

In its time, the factories here produced such machines as the Miles Master, the Short Stirling and the Spitfire, though in more recent years those names have been replaced by the Accord, Civic and Jazz.

"We take our responsibilities to our associates very seriously and will always communicate any significant news with them first", the firm said in a statement.

The decision is still a blow to the United Kingdom industry that's battling a Brexit-related slowdown, potential tariffs and supply bottlenecks after leaving the trade bloc on Mar 29.

"Japan and the European Union have a free-trade agreement, guaranteeing tariff-free access".

United Kingdom lawmakers are yet to find a solution to avert a no-deal split from the EU.

Honda directly employs 3600 people at Swindon, with thousands more supported in the wider supply chain.

The plant is due to close in 2022, a move would come as a serious blow to Britain's already ailing vehicle manufacturing industry, which has been hit by uncertainty over the terms of the UK's exit from the European Union in recent months.

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