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Takahiro Hachigo, CEO, Honda, has announced the Japanese automotive manufacturer will be closing its UK facility by 2021.
Allegedly, the closure is not linked to Brexit. Currently, Honda’s facility located in Swindon, which employs 3,500 people, produces about 150,000 Civic models each year, far from its capacity of 250,000 units. Reportedly, the carmaker is to relocate production to North America. Swindon is Honda’s only manufacturing plant in Europe. According to Katsushi Inoue, President, Honda Europe, the restructuring is needed to accelerate the Company’s electrification strategy as the automotive industry seeks to overcome "unprecedented changes."
However, for many, Brexit must have been a contributing factor to the decision. "Companies from Japan and other countries were attracted to Britain because it gave them easier entry to the lucrative European market, through an English-speaking country. At the moment, there is no deal in place to continue that after Brexit", Christian Stadler, an automotive expert and Professor of strategic management at Warwick Business School, told CNN media.
Honda has been producing cars in the UK for the past 30 years.