Auto giant Honda has confirmed plans to shut down its UK plant in 2021, with the loss of thousands of jobs.
The Japanese company told workers at the Swindon plant that after “meaningful and solid” consultation, no viable alternatives to the shutdown had been found.
Honda manufactures its popular Civic model at the plant, 70 miles west of London, which manufactures 150,000 cars a year.
The plant, which employs 3,500 workers, will close at the end of the current model’s production life cycle in 2021.
Honda said a number of organizations and groups took part in the consultation, including the government and outside consultants hired by the Unite union.
Reports of the shutdown first surfaced in February, heightening concerns about the impact of Brexit uncertainty on the UK economy.
Honda said the shutdown was not motivated by Brexit but “is part of Honda’s broader global strategy in response to changes in the auto industry,” including the switch to electric vehicles.
The plant, which employs 3,500 workers, will close at the end of the current model’s production life cycle in 2021
Honda manufactures its popular Civic model at the plant, 70 miles west of London.
Director Jason Smith said: âIt is with a heavy heart that today we confirm the closure of the Honda plant in Swindon.
âWe understand the impact of this decision on our associates, our suppliers and the community at large.
âWe are committed to continuing to support them throughout the next phases of the consultation process. ”
The company will now discuss redundancy packages and examine the impact on individual roles until the end of production.
The move comes amid falling demand for diesel cars and tighter emissions rules, with the firm saying the shutdown is also linked to the need to launch electric vehicles.
Honda is also reacting after the EU and Japan reached a trade deal removing car export tariffs for both, meaning there is little need to base manufacturing in the EU.
An aerial view of the Honda manufacturing plant in Swindon today, before it closed in 2021
Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey said: âThis is devastating news for workers who have fought tooth and nail to save their jobs.
âThe impact of today’s announcement will be felt throughout the local community and the broader supply chain.
âThe workers and their Unite union had compiled an alternative case to keep Honda Swindon open, which would have made Honda a world leader in emerging battery technology and well positioned for electric vehicle production in the coming years in Great Britain. Brittany and on the world markets.
“We are awaiting the government’s response and urge it to do everything possible to ensure that Honda reconsiders its decision, as well as to examine other possible alternative options to save jobs and keep this vital plant in production.”
Unite’s national officer Des Quinn added: “We are awaiting detailed reasons from Honda, but Unite believes our alternative case to keep Honda Swindon open added up and was likely to be backed by the government with public funds. “
âThis would have made Honda a global leader in emerging battery technology and in a strong position to tap into the growing global electric vehicle market in the years to come.
âInstead we have this big blow which is nothing less than a betrayal of the workforce, customers and the broader supply chain that depends on Honda Swindon for the job. .
âUnite can only conclude that Honda is making the strategic decision to withdraw from Europe to protect its North American operations and avoid President Trump’s tariff threat on cars made in Europe.
“Unite will consult with its members on our next steps in the coming days.”
Honda first announced plans to shut the plant down in February, less than six months after bosses pledged to back it.
Honda insisted the shutdown was ‘not a Brexit issue for us’, but workers and MPs, including Richard Burden and Rebecca Long-Bailey, lined up to challenge it.