Honda announces 800 job cuts at its Swindon manufacturing plant in the UK, following a drop in the demand for the Japanese carmaker’s vehicles across Europe. Honda, which has been making cars in the Britain since 1992, had never had job cuts before in the UK. The Honda job cuts are said to take place in the second quarter of 2013.
Honda broke the news to its 3,500 employees this morning, saying that demand for cars across Europe and specially in Spain, Italy and Greece, had fallen by a million in the past year. However, Honda assured that it would consult workers at Swindon plant and try to avoid compulsory redundancies.
The Honda job cuts come despite the car manufacturing giant hiring 500 new staff and investing £267m last year in the Swindon plant, which builds Honda’s Jazz, Civic and CR-V models. Honda said that it would continue to build cars and engines in Britain with the Civic Estate and the Civic Type R models due to be manufactured in Swindon from 2014.
Defending the Honda job cuts, Ken Keir, Honda Motor Europe’s executive vice president, said, “Honda remains fully committed for the long-term to its UK and European manufacturing operations. However, these conditions of sustained low industry demand require us to take difficult decisions. We are setting the business constitution at the right level to ensure long term stability and security.”
Last year, a third of the 166,000 cars built at the Swindon factory were sold in the UK, with the rest exported to 26 countries, mainly in Europe. In 2012, the production capacity of the Swindon plant was 250,000. The production was a big jump from 2011 when 97,000 were produced, but still significantly down from the 230,000 made in 2008.