A chapter is about to end after 36 years as Honda’s Swindon factory in UK will finally cease the productions on July 30, 2021.
Honda’s Swindon plant in UK was its key production facility in European region that used to roll out 250,000 vehicles annually
The 370-acre Swindon plant that employed 3,500 people was considered Honda’s key production facility in the European region and its only car plant in the UK which became operational back in 1985. However in 2019, Honda announced that it will close this facility as part of its global restructuring plans. The troubled Japanese automaker said it will officially close the plant and leave Swindon at the end of the current model cycle of the 10th gen Civic Hatchback.
Honda has been struggling in Europe with sales in the EU, UK and EFTA markets fell 49% as of February 2021 for a market share of 0.4%, according to data from the industry association ACEA. Honda’s chief officer for European regional operations and president of Honda Motor Europe, Katsushi Inoue, while speaking to media when the announcement of Swindon plant’s closure was first made, 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. 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.”
Currently, the Swindon factory produces 160,000 cars a year but at the height of its production it was manufacturing 250,000 vehicles annually. Honda owned the land the factory was on, and sold it earlier this year to logistics company Panattoni, which has revealed it will invest £700m in the site. Panattoni is Europe’s largest developer of industrial and logistics facilities for big businesses which, in the UK includes Amazon, TK Maxx, Sainsbury’s, the Co-op, and Marks and Spencer.
Besides Swindown, Honda has also decided to end car production in Turkey following completion of the production run of its current Civic Sedan in 2021. Furthermore as part of its consolidation plans, the automaker has pulled the plugs off its production operations in Philippines and Russia, and closed one of its two plants in India as well.
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