Honda set to close Swindon car plant

Japanese carmaker Honda is set to announce the closure of its Swindon plant in 2022, putting 3,500 jobs at risk, sources say.

The Japanese carmaker will shut the plant in 2022 but retain its European headquarters in Bracknell, Berkshire.

Sources say Honda will make an announcement on the future of the company on Tuesday morning.

Honda declined to comment on the claims, first reported by Sky News. The government also declined to comment.

Honda produces more than 100,000 Civic cars in Swindon for the global market. It is the firm’s only factory in the EU.

Brexit fears

According to Sky, Honda was likely to relocate the facility to its home market of Japan.

Brexit is understood to be a factor in the decision, with the carmaker concerned about the imposition of new tariffs after the UK leaves the EU.

Rival Japanese carmaker Nissan also cited Brexit as one reason for cancelling plans to build its X-Trail SUV in Sunderland earlier this month.

Ford and Jaguar Land Rover have also expressed concern about the risk of a potential no-deal Brexit.

Last month, Honda has said it would shut down the factory for six days in April as part of its preparations for any disruption caused post-Brexit.

The company said the move was to ensure it could adjust to “all possible outcomes caused by logistics and border issues”.

The firm said it would help in recovering lost production if shipments of parts were held up at borders.

Last year, the senior vice-president of Honda Europe warned that if the UK left the EU without a deal, it would cost his company tens of millions of pounds.

Ian Howells told the BBC that quitting the bloc without an agreement would affect the carmaker’s competitiveness in Europe.

He said the Japanese firm was preparing for a no-deal outcome, but had not discussed relocating its Swindon plant.

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A history of Honda Swindon

Honda UK is situated on a former airfield spanning 370 acres to the north east of Swindon.

The carmaker bought the site in 1985 and established Honda of the UK Manufacturing to inspect vehicles pre-delivery.

In 1989, the operations expanded to producing engines. Three years later, a car plant was added, which began producing the Honda Accord.

Since then, the site has gone on to produce the Jazz, CR-V, Civic and Type R.

A second Honda car plant opened in Swindon in 2001, raising production capacity to 250,000 a year.

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Are you an employee at the Honda car plant in Swindon? Tell us about your experiences by emailing  BBCNEWS.CO.UK@bbcnewslight.co.uk ) or mrbenrory@europe.com )

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