Britain on Tuesday said it was deeply disappointed by Honda's decision to close its only British vehicle plant. While Honda's Swindon closure heralds a grim future for manufacturing and other employment in the town and the supply chain beyond, figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that the United Kingdom jobs machine was still running smoothly.
The planned closure will hit Swindon hard. Still, Chief Executive Officer Takahiro Hachigo said the UK's divorce from the European Union wasn't a factor in Honda's move, but the company changing its production as the industry moves toward electric cars.
The Swindon plant, Honda's only one in the European Union, has produced the Civic model for the global market for over 24 years, with 150,000 units rolling off the line every year.
Amid a global manufacturing restructure, Honda confirmed on Tuesday that it intends to shut down its production plant in the United Kingdom.
Honda says its European headquarters will remain in the United Kingdom.
"With Honda saying Brexit was not a factor, this Tory government shoulders yet more responsibility to create an environment of business confidence", said Labor Party business secretary Rebecca Long. It also announced it will stop building the Civic sedan in Turkey in 2021. "They are seeking to consolidate production in Japan".
Ford Motor, announcing thousands of job cuts in Europe this year, last week said a hard Brexit would be " catastrophic" for the United Kingdom auto industry and its own production facilities.More news: Michael Owen reveals his prediction for Chelsea FC v Man United
He said it was "very regrettable" to have to close the plant but said it was the "best choice" given the need to reduce production capacity and reform its global facilities. Factory aside, Honda's European HQ will continue to be located in the UK.
Motor Authority reached out to Honda for more information and to ask if the move has anything to do with Brexit.
"Without free and open trade between the U.K. and the rest of the EU, Japanese companies will not be impressed by any U.K. -Japan trade deal".
"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 is a devastating decision for Swindon and the UK".
A statement from Honda has said: 'This proposal comes as Honda accelerates its commitment to electrified cars, in response to the unprecedented changes in the global automotive industry.
That target is 2025 for Europe, Honda announced at the time.
The EU and Japan recently struck a trade deal which lowers tariffs on both parties' vehicle exports to zero.