Japanese vehicle manufacturer to SHUT Swindon factory — Honda

The Japanese car maker could confirm the demise of the plant as soon as Tuesday morning

Honda announced on Tuesday that it would shut its sole British plant by 2021, a decision the Japanese carmaker said was not related to Brexit but which Britain deemed deeply disappointing.

British Prime Minister Theresa May spoke to the president of Honda to express her disappointment after the auto manufacturer's decision to shut a plant in England, May's spokesman said Tuesday.

"To ensure Honda is well placed to adjust to all possible outcomes, we are planning six non-production days in April".

Brexit adds another layer off uncertainty: Nissan this month reneged on plans to build the X-Trail sport utility vehicle in Sunderland, citing the unresolved status of EU-UK trade after Brexit. Such a move would put 3,500 on-site jobs "at risk", plus thousands more in the factory's nationwide supply chain.

Honda had no immediate comment on its plans. In fact, the Honda statement blamed changing conditions in the global market and reinforced a desire to prepare its manufacturing network for the future.

He said: "The only place we produce the vehicle we produce at Swindon is in Swindon itself".

"This is a devastating decision for Swindon and the U.K.", U.K. Business Secretary Greg Clark told Reuters. The company will also boost manufacturing of the Civic in North America, where 55% of the models made in the United Kingdom are now exported to.

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.

If Honda says it is shutting the factory, it will be one of several automakers reassessing their presence in the United Kingdom and Europe. "As Honda's European flagship factory, we employ over 3,500 associates to build and export the Civic and Civic Type R to over 70 countries worldwide".

Hachigo said the company would begin discussions with affected workers at the factory in Swindon right away.

"In light of the unprecedented changes that are affecting our industry, it is vital that we accelerate our electrification strategy and restructure our global operations accordingly", said Katsushi Inoue, chief officer for European regional operations at Honda and president of Honda Motor Europe.

Last autumn, Honda said it was committed to UK-based production, regardless of the outcome of Brexit negotiations.

Economy Minister Ken Skates said he was "very concerned" at the news from Swindon and called it a "sad indictment" of the United Kingdom government's approach to Brexit.

Honda hasn't revealed what it will do with the site, which is the only plant it operates in Europe.

Jaguar Land Rover has also warned about the risks of leaving the European Union without a deal, triggering the imposition of tariffs on exports to the bloc.

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