Currently reading: Honda to slash production in Swindon, placing 340 jobs at risk
Japanese manufacturer announces plans to scale down its shift patterns in Swindon, resulting in the potential loss of hundreds of jobs
Darren Moss
News
2 mins read
25 March 2014

Honda is slashing production at its factory in Swindon, resulting in the potential loss of 340 jobs. 

Company officials blame poor growth in Europe as the reason behind the move, with vice president Ian Howells reporting that "over the last 12 months, we haven't seen the growth we expected".

The planned cuts include 160 temporary positions, putting a sizeable dent in the 3000-strong workforce based at the Swindon factory. Cars produced at the site include the Civic, Civic Tourer, Jazz and CR-V. As of next year, the new Civic Type R will also be made at the site.

Unions have reacted to the news, with a spokesman for Unite saying it was "very bad news". As well as cutting shifts at the plant down from three to two, Honda is also moving all production to single line in order to increase efficiency.

This isn't the first time Honda has had to cut its UK workforce. The Japanese car maker announced plans in January last year to cut up to 800 jobs from its UK operations. In the end, that figure was reduced to around 550 voluntary redundancies, and 38 compulsory. 

Honda is forecasting that although the Swindon plant has the capacity to build some 250,000 cars annually, it plans to make just 120,000 units this year. The site made 140,094 cars in 2013, down from 165,607 units in 2012.

The company blames continuing difficulties in mainland Europe for the drop in production, even though its sales in the UK are currently up by over four per cent on last year.

In a statement, Howells said: "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.

“Our Swindon operation continues to be the hub for our European car manufacturing activity.” 

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Vimeous 26 March 2014

Too slow to react

Honda UK are still suffering from decisions made as a result of the recession and Japanese Earthquake.
Recession thinking changed their focus and at the time they needed to change tack the Japanese Earthquake stopped everything dead for at least 6-12 months.
It forced a weak redesign of the Civic that Honda are still labouring with. The CR-V is a good competitive car but the market is evolving away from the middle in that sector. The Jazz was always a stop gap for production volumes in the UK.

For Honda UK the triple-layered icing on the cake is loosing the small SUV to Mexico, Southern Europe's collapse in purchases, and a lack of export volume beyond its primary market.

So now they have to wait for new metal and sadly this means the workforce suffers. The hope is that a much more lean and mean Honda UK is the result.

winniethewoo 26 March 2014

@Vimeous

You wonder how that works. Oh its a recession, so no one will want well made, well styled cars. Lets put some junk on the market! You would understand if to save cash, they tweaked their existing models with a new range of efficient engines, changed some suspension bits, put the styling through a mild make over and dropped the price a little. But no, they decided to replace everything with something that looks hideous, carrying over old tech and offering nothing that anyone wants. Its madness.
winniethewoo 25 March 2014

I'm not surprised by this news either

Back in the heady early 90's days of NSX, 4WS Prelude, 5th Gen Civic, Honda was my favourite brand. I purchased a Honda Concerto which really was very competitive at the time, inoffensive and very easy to live with.

Currently there isn't a single model in the Honda range I would consider buying.

Badly styled, high levels of CO2 (Civic 1.8 Petrol 142BHP, 143g/km CO2 vs Golf Gti, 227BHP 139g/km CO2) expensive, technologically backwards (when everyone else in the Civic space was moving to independent rear suspension, Honda decided to move from independent to solid axle?! WHAT?), average refinement, ride and handling. No USP.

Its such a shame to see a once great car company lose confidence in its core values.

martin_66 25 March 2014

Have to agree...

with a lot of the comments here. I do feel sorry for the people who actually build the cars as I am sure they do a very good job. They are let down by poor designers and even poorer managers who decided what to make. There is not a single car in the Honda range that I would want to spend my own money on. and I am not the only person who thinks that. When I have recently considered replacing my current car with offerings from VW, Ford, Kia, Skoda and even Dacia, it is telling that I have not even considered a Honda.

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