Honda was the first major Japanese auto company to get involved in large scale manufacturing the United Kingdom when it did a deal with British Leyland in 1980 to produce Honda-based models in BL factories.
Like many of its global rivals, Honda is trying to streamline its operations as it invests heavily to develop electric vehicles and self-driving cars, transforming itself from simply a manufacturer of cars into a mobility company.
Experts including Prof David Bailey from Aston University said the United Kingdom can be a hub for the manufacturing of electric cars but it would require the United Kingdom to be in a customs union with the EU and have access to the single market. Apparently, the U.K.is not one of them. "This is a commercial decision based on unprecedented changes in the global market".
Meanwhile, Tomlinson said Honda's decision to consolidate European market production in Japan was not because of Brexit. The facility now builds the Honda Civic Hatchback and the Civic Type R. It launched its CR-V hybrid a year ago but does not sell any electric models. Overall production numbers at the factory in 2018 - which includes both the Civic and the recently departed CR-V - were 160,000 which is around 10 percent of Britain's overall vehicle production.
He said: "Honda hasn't yet made its public announcement I've already said that I think they should think again and I certainly would be ready to talk to them and anybody who cares to listen to make the case for Swindon as a strong centre for manufacturing". "The timing of this announcement is based on decisions regarding the production location of the next-gen Civic", Honda spokeswoman Jessica Pawl wrote in an email.
"To ensure Honda is well placed to adjust to all possible outcomes, we are planning six non-production days in April".
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The company is not expected to announce job losses until 2021, he added. The model will go out of production in 2021.
Honda makes its popular Civic model at the factory in Swindon, 115km west of London, with an output of 150,000 cars per year.
This restructure comes as Honda accelerates its commitment to electrified cars, in response to the unprecedented changes in the global automotive industry. Still, Chief Executive Officer Takahiro Hachigo said the UK's divorce from the European Union wasn't a factor in Honda's move, but the company changing its production as the industry moves toward electric cars.
The factory in Swindon, southwest England, is Honda's only European Union plant and has produced the manufacturer's "Civic" model for more than 24 years, with 150,000 units rolling off the line annually.
The plant now produces 150,000 cars a year.
The global restructure will also involve Honda's automobile operations in Turkey. The plant in Turkey now makes 38,000 units per year. Honda operates the Alliston, Ontario, and Greensburg, Indiana, plants in Canada and the U.S. Both now build the Honda Civic sedan models. Honda Turkiye A.S. will continue to hold constructive dialogue with Turkish stakeholders during this period.