Japanese carmaker Honda plans to close its car factory in western England in 2021, a fresh blow to the British economy as it faces its March 29 exit from the European Union.
The company announced the decision, which will imperil 3,500 jobs and possibly many more, at a news conference in Tokyo.
Honda's president and CEO, Takahiro Hachigo, told reporters the decision was not related to Brexit, but was based on what made most sense for its global competitiveness in light of the need to accelerate its production of electric vehicles.
British businesses are issuing increasingly urgent warnings about the damage being done by the uncertainty around Brexit. The U.K. has yet to seal a deal laying out the divorce terms and establishing what trade rules will apply after Brexit. Still, Christian Stadler, a professor at Warwick Business School in England, said Brexit had to be a factor. The loss of free entry into the European market from Britain undoes one of its top advantages as a manufacturing base.
Honda Motor Co. makes its popular Civic model at the factory, 115 kilometers (70 miles) west of London, with an output of 150,000 cars per year. "I very much regret this," Hachigo said, adding that "this was the best choice the circumstances."
Hachigo said the company would begin discussions with affected workers at the factory in Swindon right away.
Source : VOA