Honda Announces Closure of Sole UK Plant

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
honda announces closure of sole uk plant

The sole production site of the Honda Civic Hatchback and Type R will close by the end of 2021, Honda told UK employees on Tuesday.

Honda’s Swindon facility, built on the site of a former WW2 aircraft factory, began building Accords for the UK and European markets in 1992, adding the popular Civic to the mix two years later. Amid a turbulent time for trade and auto sales, Honda plans to shutter the facility, throwing 3,500 employees out of work and leaving the future of the Civic Hatch and its variants in question.

While business operations will continue at Swindon, auto assembly will not. A communiqué released Tuesday morning points to a global restructuring of Honda’s production base and regional sales concerns as the reason for the closure, instead of worry over Brexit.

“This restructure comes as Honda accelerates its commitment to electrified cars, in response to the unprecedented changes in the global automotive industry,” the automaker stated. “The significant challenges of electrification will see Honda revise its global manufacturing operations, and focus activity in regions where it expects to have high production volumes.”

Certainly, the possibility of profit-sapping tariffs (and not just those levied by the EU) could be weighing on the minds of Honda execs, but it’s just one slice of a complex pie. As mentioned yesterday, the EU and Japan now have a free trade pact, making export from Honda’s homeland a more enticing prospect.

“This is not a Brexit-related issue for us, it’s being made on the global-related changes I’ve spoken about,” Ian Howells, senior vice-president of Honda in Europe, told the BBC.

It’s worth fleshing out the last few words in Honda’s previous statement. From a recent high of 311,801 sales in 2007, Honda’s European volume fell to 136,191 vehicles in 2018. Swindon cranks out about 150,000 vehicles a year, with North America receiving its Civic Hatch from this locale.

“It has to be in a marketplace of a size for Honda, where it makes investment worthwhile,” Howells said of the company’s assembly sites.

Honda also announced the closure of its Turkey assembly operations by 2021, leaving its business operations in that country alive.

“This [decision] has not been taken lightly and we deeply regret how unsettling today’s announcement will be for our people,” said Katsushi Inoue, head of Honda’s European business.

Honda currently builds Civic sedans and coupes in American and Canadian plants. In the future, the region could receive Civic imports from Japan, though it’s possible hatch models could be added to the current domestic production mix.

[Image: Honda]

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  • Michael Dalia My first car was a 1966 Pontiac Lemans. I also owned a 1972 Catalina and an 1988 6000LE. Currently I drive a 2007 G6 GT convertible which which I love and probably will have until I can no longer drive. Pontiacs are great!
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  • Theflyersfan As a kid, a neighbor had one of these full-sized conversion vans with the TV and wet bar in the back. And it was so cool to go in - as a kid it was, driving it had to be terror at times with blind spots, iffy power and brakes, and the feeling that you're hauling your living room with you! Kids of the 1970s and 1980s had this experience. Afterwards with minivans and then CUV everything, not so much.And I'm crushed that a 1977 van doesn't have some kind of mural on the sides. Coyote howling at the moon, American flag, Confederate flag, bright stripes, something! You can't have a 1970's era van with plain sides! At least a "Don't Laugh. Your daughter's in here" bumper sticker on the back. I always get a Gacy or Bundy vibe with these vans...
  • Jeff S In the EV market Tesla is not a niche player it is the major player. According to the latest data of the California-based vehicle valuation and automotive research company  Kelley Blue Book, Tesla has the lion’s share with 75 percent market share in  the electric vehicle market in the first three months of 2022.Tesla has dominated the electric vehicle market for years in the United States. The electric vehicles manufactured by Tesla accounted for 79 percent of the new electric vehicles registered in the United States in 2020 and 69,95 percent in 2021. The decrease in the market share in 2021 might be explained by backlogs and the global chip shortage, but the company is ramping up its sales and has already increased its market share to 75 percent in the first quarter of the year. According to Kelley Blue Book, the top 10 EVs sold in the US in the first quarter of 2022 are;[list=1][*]Tesla Model Y[/*][*]Tesla Model 3[/*][*]Ford Mustang Mach-E[/*][*]Tesla Model X[/*][*]Hyundai Ioniq 5[/*][*]Kia EV6[/*][*]Tesla Model S[/*][*]Nissan Leaf[/*][*]Kia Niro[/*][*]Audi e-Tron[/*][/list=1]Tesla has delivered 310,048 vehicles in the first quarter of 2022, another first-quarter record. The success of Tesla is proven once again as the company has three electric cars in the top 10 most selling electric vehicles in the United States, while no other manufacturer has even two different models on the list.Tesla leads all others, selling slightly over 936,000 units in 2021. This gave the company a market share of nearly 14%.Mar 30, 2022https://interestingengineering.com/transportation/tesla-ev-market-75-percent-market-share
  • Jeff S I did not know Plymouth had a full size van prior to the mini vans. I did know about the Plymouth pickups and the Trail Duster.
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