Honda to scale back car production in the UK

Honda Swindon PlantHonda is cutting back its vehicle production operations in the UK and will move from a three-shift to a two-shift working pattern.

This will result in the potential loss of up to 340 permanent Honda jobs.

The firm will also consolidate vehicle manufacturing at the Swindon facility onto one line, resulting in the closure of the plant two facility at the 22 year old operation.

“Over the last 12 months, we haven’t seen the growth we’d anticipated,” said Honda Motor Europe senior vice president Ian Howells.

“With no increase forecasted for the next couple of years, we must scale our manufacturing activity accordingly.

“However with the restructuring we’re taking today, and our new model plans, we remain confident in the long-term future of our Swindon plant… (it) continues to be the hub for our European car manufacturing activity.”

Swindon builds the Honda Civic, Civic Tourer, CR-V and Jazz for European markets: the Civic Tourer is new and the Civic hatch has recently been facelifted (and an impressive upgrade it is too), but although the CR-V is also relatively new, the Jazz supermini is ageing. As this is the volume car at the plant, its increasing weakness appears to be hitting Honda hard.

A new Jazz isn’t forecast to go on sale until later in 2015, and it’s not yet clear if the new model will be built at Swindon (although we’d be surprised if it wasn’t).

The news of a potential 340 permanent jobs being lost (and up to 160 temporary positions, reports the BBC), comes after Honda last year made over 550 voluntary redundancies at Swindon.

It currently employs around 3,000 workers.

Managing Director at @editorial_mr. Runs a bit. Loves the motor industry. https://about.me/richardaucock

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  • Andrew Campbell

    I have been the proud owner of two Honda Motorcycles, in my youth and a Honda Civic 5 door hatchback for 10 years until quite recently – which was excellent, economical, comfortable and safe but a bit ‘off the pace’ performance wise for its 1.4 litre engine size and 1140 Kg body style. Honda seem to have lost their way in recent years in the European Car Sales race, despite their well known reputation for building highly reliable cars in the Swindon Factory. I read with some surprise that Hyundai/Kia now outsells Honda 4 to 1 in the whole of Europe and with factories now in Turkey and Central Europe making 90% of their cars for the European Market and a growing reputation for quality, design and value for money Hyundai/Kia will probably continue to increase their market share whilst Honda continues to suffer from the higher cost of manufacture in its UK Swindon Car plant. Similarly both Toyota and Nissan make all but their smallest cars in the UK and export most of their production into Europe but they too suffer from the higher cost of UK manufacture and fluctuations in the value of the pound sterling vs the Euro.

  • Huw Williams

    HUM future looks bleak after they lose Jazz and the high value CRV.
    Whoever decided to consolidate manufacturing to just the Civic hatch, competing in the most price conscious commodity sector of the market, has doomed the factory and probably Honda European sales overall to a probable terminal decline.