Published: Wed, February 20, 2019
Money | By Bruce West

Honda Civic hatchback next-gen production may come to North America

Honda Civic hatchback next-gen production may come to North America

The Business Secretary warned the auto industry needs MPs to vote for the Brexit deal today as he scrambled to respond to Honda planning to close its Swindon plant. Swindon is now Honda's only production base within the EU.

Earlier this month, Nissan axed production of the X-Trail SUV in the Brexit-backing northeast city of Sunderland, despite government assurances over the consequences from the European Union exit. The plant now produces 150,000 cars per year, and employs approximately 3,500 people. It said: "The significant challenges of electrification will see Honda revise its global manufacturing operations, and focus activity in regions where it expects to have high production volumes".

The Swindon factory produces 150,000 Honda Civics a year - a lot of them for export to the European Union - amounting to about a tenth of total United Kingdom vehicle production.

Honda said under the proposed restructure, the current role of its United Kingdom manufacturing business (HUM) as a global manufacturing hub may no longer be viable.

Hachigo's comments that the decision was not related to Brexit are unlikely to take the sting out of the job losses for the British public, or politicians.

During a statement to the Commons on Honda in Swindon, Mr Clark said the closure was a "devastating decision" before being peppered with questions about Brexit. Honda operates the Alliston, Ontario, and Greensburg, Indiana, plants in Canada and the U.S. Both now build the Honda Civic sedan models. "They are seeking to consolidate production in Japan".

The Swindon plant, home of Honda UK Manufacturing (HUM), has been operating at around half-capacity for several years.

The plant, located in Swindon, now builds the Honda Civic hatchback and the Civic Type R models.

The restructuring announcement also noted the automaker's plant in Turkey will close in 2021. The U.K.'s decision to leave the bloc could create further uncertainty for Japanese companies in Britain.

The proper response to the Honda announcement, by the way, is not the unseemly tit-for-tat about what caused it but to mourn what it means for the future of manufacturing and manufacturing jobs in this country - described here last week - now that another jewel in the crown is shutting up shop.

Honda said in 2018 it would shut its British operations for six days in April to help counter any border disruption from Brexit.

The UK automotive sector may face yet another blow, following the decision by another Japanese manufacturer Nissan to move some of its production to Japan, citing wider industry pressures in the United Kingdom and Brexit uncertainty. The company's Swindon plant was established in 1985.

"We are considering adding production of the Civic Hatchback in North America, starting from the next generation model, to serve our customers in the North American market", Honda said in an emailed statement.

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