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Honda Shutting U.K. Plant in Latest Blow to British Car Industry

Feb. 18, 2019
The closing is expected in 2021.

Honda Motor Co. plans to close its factory in the U.K., costing some 3,500 workers their jobs, and will consolidate production for Europe in Japan.

The decision comes in response to global market trends and isn’t related to Brexit, Justin Tomlinson, U.K. member of parliament for North Swindon said in a tweet, confirming earlier reports about a planned shutdown of the Swindon plant that makes the Civic. Honda earlier declined to comment.

“Honda will be consulting with all staff and there is not expected to be any job losses or changes in production until 2021,” Tomlinson wrote. “They are clear this is based on global trends and not Brexit as all European market production will consolidate in Japan in 2021.”

Honda’s factory in southwest England has a capacity to make 160,000 cars a year. The decision is still a blow to the U.K. industry that’s battling a Brexit-related slowdown, potential tariffs and supply bottlenecks after leaving the trade bloc on March 29. U.K. lawmakers are yet to find a solution to avert a no-deal split from the EU.

Ford Motor Co., announcing thousands of job cuts in Europe this year, last week said a hard Brexit would be “ catastrophic” for the U.K. auto industry and its own production facilities.As the political impasse drags on, investments in the British automotive industry nearly halved last year to 589 million pounds ($761 million), the lowest since the global financial crisis, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers.

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