Honda's Swindon factory will close for two months in 2009, the company has announced.
The move will leave the Wiltshire plant silent during February and March next year. Workers will still receive basic pay, but will lose overtime. There are no plans for redundancies. The shutdown will also mean a cut of around 21,000 vehicles from the factory’s production next year.
The news is the latest in a series of blows to the UK’s car manufacturing sector, as companies struggle to reduce capacity in the face of slowing demand.
Bentley’s factory in Crewe has already moved to a three-day week, while the Solihull Land Rover plant has moved to a four-day week and Toyota has cut the night shift at its Burnaston plant.
However, Honda’s announcement is the biggest production cut yet by a mainstream manufacturer in the UK, and demonstrates the scale of the global crisis facing the motor industry.
The Swindon plant is particularly vulnerable to the downturn, building CR-V models for export to the USA alongside European Civics.
Honda also announced plans to cut production at its factories in Ohio and Alabama.