Honda job cuts for Swindon plant

Honda Swindon
25 Mar, 2014 10:03am Jack Rix

Slow European sales force Honda to reduce production at Swindon plant, 340 jobs could be cut

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.

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Can't say I'm really that surprised by this... the current range just isn't strong enough and the market position of Honda being semi-premium doesn't help either I think. As someone who has a soft-spot for what Honda has done in the past it hurts to see the demise. To think just 10 or so years ago, Honda had such a strong range - The last gen Accord was a seriously good car and the first diesel that didn't sound or drive like a diesel, S2000 - a properly quick, well balanced and fun car that sounded astonishing on full throttle. NSX, 'Teg Type-R, Civic Type-R, etc, etc Now, it's run of the mill hatchbacks and an SUV. Is the Accord still even on sale? Shame. Such a shame.

You've summed it up well, lack of new interesting models to catch the attention and all cars in general now are becoming more solid and reliable so its difficult for them to live off that reliability reputation.

Spot on. Their cars are overpriced and uncompetitive so buyers are deserting them. As far as quality/reliability and "The Power Of Dreams" are concerned they are living on past glories, the latest Civic being a prime example.

'demise'? I think you are misinformed about Honda. They are a profit making car maker and have been for years. European sales may be poor as far as Honda is concerned yet they continue to do well in markets such as the US, and Asia. The story above is based on local market conditions. And as far as models are concerned they are due to bring out a Type R Civic and a new NSX which have been well publicised in the press.

and the Jazz is not that reliable as the press may think. If it wasn't for wife's love of the flexi seats I would not be seen anywhere near a honda garage.

Saw that coming ..... but it's quite in contrast with the HUGE sales-success of the Honda line-up i/t USA.
There you'll find 3 (!) models i/t Top 10 each selling > 300k annually.

Nevertheless, there seems to be quite a bit of concern in North America, particularly amongst Honda fans, about the way things are going. The perception seems to be that quality and design are not what they once were and the company is heading towards long-term decline. Honda may be OK at the moment in many other markets but, overall, the future looks far from certain.

Oh, the Jazz generally across all units sold is incredibly reliable. It's pointless looking at one off anecdotes as an indicator of reliability in general.
(Jazz CVT rumble is a bit of an issue though)

However, reliability has come to be expected from every maker, there are no unreliable low end cars these days and so the best and most solid cars don't have a stand out advantage.

The Jazz is not that reliable? Are you serious?! It is consistantly rated as one of the most reliable cars around. Despite cars generally becoming more reliable this is an area where Honda continue to excel. Incidently, my brother currently runs a 1997 honda Prelude (been in the family since 1 year old) which continues to drive and run like a new car and even looks very tidy for tis year. When you run a ten year old plus car, thats when you start to recognise (or not) what a reliable, quality car is all about.....

The future is uncertain for everyone though - not just car companies! Thats just life. Look at the French car makers with PSA pratically on the brink of going bust, Saab having dissapeared and look at what happened to American car makers, having to be bailed out by the government, no less. GM even being nicknamed government motors. Ford and GM only recently annonced they were pulling production from Australia. It makes sense for car makers to adjust to market conditions. It is not a sign of weakness, but good business sense just as with the Honda story.

The Civic and in particular the Accord have topped sales charts for over two decades. Its just a shame they dont offer some of the models offered there such as the lovely Acura products, the Accord coupe and the Civic 2.4Si.

Saab was a lame duck for years and a very minor player. Ford and GM are both doing pretty well considering they (in particular GM) were on the brink 4 or 5 years ago. The French have been uncompetitive for years so no surprises there. Personally, I like the Honda marque but find many of their current offerings unconvincing. We expect more of Honda than they seem to be delivering.