Car giant Honda has confirmed it plans to close its factory in Swindon in 2021 with the loss of 3,500 jobs.The Japanese firm told workers it proposed to close the vehicle manufacturing plant at the end of the current model’s production lifecycle.The plant currently produces 150,000 cars a year, the Press Association reports.Rumours of the move began circulating on Monday and staff at the plant told the BBC that this was how they found out the news.Workers at the Wiltshire factory reacted angrily at a time of turmoil for UK car manufacturing and fears over the impact of Brexit.In a statement, Honda said: “This proposal comes as Honda accelerates its commitment to electrified cars, in response to the unprecedented changes in the global automotive industry.“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.”Honda said under the proposed restructure, the current role of its UK manufacturing business (HUM) as a global manufacturing hub may no longer be viable.
There was no mention of Brexit in the statement.Consultation with the Unite union will begin today, and Honda said it will be working closely with its workforce over the months ahead.Business Secretary Greg Clark said in a statement: “Honda have announced, as part of a global restructuring, plans to close their Swindon plant in 2021; and instead manufacture and export the new Civic model into Europe from Japan.“The automotive industry is undergoing a rapid transition to new technology. The UK is one of the leaders in the development of these technologies and so it is deeply disappointing that this decision has been taken now.”
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