Following shrinking sales in Europe, Honda has announced that its Swindon plant will move from a three shift to a two shift pattern. Production of the Civic, Civic Tourer, CR-V, Jazz and - from 2015 - the Civic Type R will be also consolidated from two production lines to one, until Honda sees an increase in demand.
As a result of the reduced output, Honda Motor Europe will “enter into consultation on a proposal to reduce the workforce by 340 production employees,” according to an official statement.
“Over the last 12 months, we haven’t seen the growth we’d anticipated. With no increase forecasted for the next couple of years, we must scale our manufacturing activity accordingly,” said Ian Howells, Senior Vice President, Honda Motor Europe.
“However, with the restructuring we’re taking today, and our new model plans, we remain confident in the long-term future of our Swindon plant. Our Swindon operation continues to be the hub for our European car manufacturing activity,” he added.
Ninety per cent of the cars produced in Swindon are for the European market, and with the European car industry having just endured a six-year slump - with sales falling to their lowest levels in two decades – Swindon has been hit harder than most. Globally though, Honda is healthier than ever with record sales of 4.3 million in 2013.
Honda says it is fully committed to supporting the workers affected by the cuts, and will offer a voluntary release programme to reduce the need for compulsory redundancies.