Honda to close Swindon plant in 2022 putting at risk 3,500 jobs

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Nevertheless, Swindon members of parliament Justin Tomlinson and Robert Buckland, both of the pro-Brexit Conservative Party, said Monday that after speaking to Honda officials they'd learned that the "decision has been made because of global trends and is not related to Brexit". The suspension was put down to Brexit, with the predicted border delays brought about by Britain's exit from the European Union expected to cause a disruption to production.

That's quickly unraveled, with Nissan this month reneging on plans to built the X-Trail sport utility vehicle in Sunderland - partly due to the unresolved status of EU-U.K. trade after Brexit. It employs 3,500 people but supports many more jobs in the supply chain.

As you may recall, Honda has big plans for electrification. The possibility is consistent with the language Honda used in its Swindon closure announcement, in which the company said it plans to "focus activity in regions where it expects to have high production volumes".

Honda makes its popular Civic model at the factory, 115 kilometers (70 miles) west of London, with an output of 150,000 cars per year. It said the conference will address a change in operational structure.

Greg Clark, Britain's business secretary, called the decision "devastating" for Swindon and the United Kingdom.

Honda also said it will stop making the current Civic Sedan model in Turkey but will continue business operations in the country.

He denied that Brexit was to blame for the "surprising and shocking news", which he said was down to the firm wanting to take production back to Japan as it develops its electric engines.

The Swindon plant, home of Honda UK Manufacturing (HUM), has been operating at around half-capacity for several years.

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(Picture: Ben Birchall/PA Archive/PA Images)Why is the Swindon Honda Factory closing?

Honda said it would not be providing any comment on the "speculation".

The decision is still a blow to the United Kingdom industry that's battling a Brexit-related slowdown, potential tariffs and supply bottlenecks after leaving the trade bloc on Mar 29.

It would also come amid uncertainty surrounding the terms of future trade deals with the European Union.

Honda has blamed a rapidly changing auto industry with plunging demand for diesel cars and a new focus on electric vehicles.

One employee who has worked at the Honda factory in question for 24 years was interviewed on Tuesday morning, describing the entire Brexit situation as "idiocy of epic proportions".

The proper response to the Honda announcement, by the way, is not the unseemly tit-for-tat about what caused it but to mourn what it means for the future of manufacturing and manufacturing jobs in this country - described here last week - now that another jewel in the crown is shutting up shop.

The EU and Japan recently struck a trade deal that eliminates tariffs on vehicle exports between the two entities.