Honda to axe 800 jobs in UK
The carmaker said that it is entering into formal consultation on the job losses, which would be made by spring this year, and added that the move was necessary ‘to ensure the long-term stability of its future business’.
Ken Keir, executive vice president, Honda Motor Europe, said: ‘Honda remains fully committed for the long-term to its UK and European manufacturing operations. However, these conditions of sustained low industry demand require us to take difficult decisions. We are setting the business constitution at the right level to ensure long-term stability and security.’
The move represents the first job cutbacks that Honda has made in the UK since it opened the Swindon plant in 1992. The site builds the Honda CR-V, Civic and Jazz models, of which 40% go to the UK and 50% to Europe. Total production capacity is 250,000 but only 166,000 were built in 2012.
The announcement follows the publication earlier this week of 2012 West European new car sales figures by LMC Automotive, which reported an 8.2% slump in sales in the region, taking it back to levels not seen since 1993. All major markets have been hit, apart from the UK.
Commenting on Honda’s announcement, SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt, said: ‘This is very disappointing news for Honda staff and their families. The decline in European new car markets and uncertain growth prospects has forced a number of vehicle manufacturers to restructure their operations.
‘Despite challenges brought by weak European demand, the longer-term prospects for the UK automotive sector remain good. The industry has seen £6bn of new investment from a wide-range of global vehicle manufacturers during the last two years and there is demand for skilled workers in the automotive industry and other high value manufacturing sectors. We hope that those affected will be able to take advantage of the opportunities we know exist throughout the UK sector and its supply chain.’