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Honda's factory closure in Swindon will mean 4,000-plus job cuts

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Hundreds of Honda car workers protested to save the plant in Swindon back in 2019. Photo: Getty Images
Hundreds of Honda car workers protested to save the plant in Swindon back in 2019. Photo: PA

Japanese car maker Honda (HMC) will close its factory in Swindon on Friday in a move that will impact more than 4,000 jobs.

Of the 3,000 workers at the factory, only 200 will stay on to decommission it, the BBC reported.

The move will also mean some 1,800 jobs will be axed at two local firms that supply the plant, the report said.

The car maker set up the plant back in 1985 on the site of an old RAF airfield. The factory has churned out some 3.7 million cars since then. In recent times it was manufacturing about 680 cars a day.

These included the Accord, Jazz and CR-V models. Since 2018 though it exclusively produced the Honda Civic, which was then exported across Europe.

The decision to shut the plant was first announced in 2019. 

At the time, Katsushi Inoue, the chief officer for European regional operations and president of Honda Motor Europe, said: “In light of the unprecedented changes that are affecting our industry, it is vital that we accelerate our electrification strategy and restructure our global operations accordingly.

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“As a result, we have had to take this difficult decision to consult our workforce on how we might prepare our manufacturing network for the future. This has not been taken lightly and we deeply regret how unsettling today’s announcement will be for our people.”

Back then, trade union Unite described Honda’s decision to press ahead with the closure of its Swindon plant as a "body blow of betrayal".

"Unite can only conclude that Honda is taking a strategic decision to retreat out of Europe in favour of protecting its North American operations and avoiding [former US] president [Donald] Trump’s tariff threat on cars made in Europe," the union said at the time.

Professor Andrew Graves, of the University of Bath, told the BBC that "Brexit was the straw that broke the camel's back".

"The Swindon factory was world class but because we chose to pull out of Europe, which was the most important market to Honda, they chose to stick with America and Japan.”

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