Honda Goes from Three to Two Shifts at its Swindon Plant in the UK, Announces 340 Layoffs

Honda has announced cuts to its manufacturing operations in the UK, as the automaker expects European markets to stagnate for the next two years. The Japanese firm will move from three to two shifts at its manufacturing plant in Swindon in southwest England, with the decision resulting in approximately 340 job losses, slightly more than 10 percent of the plant’s employees.

As a result, Honda now expects to produce about 120,000 vehicles in 2014 at Swindon, down from 140,094 vehicles in 2013, which also represented a decrease of about 15 percent from the previous year.

“With no increase forecasted for the next couple of years, we must scale our manufacturing activity accordingly,” Honda Motor Europe senior vice president Ian Howells was quoted as saying by Reuters.

However, Howells said Honda was confident in the long-term future of the Swindon plant after the restructuring that followed job cuts of 800 last year. The automaker has been making cars at Swindon since 1992, building the Civic, Civic Tourer, CR-V and Jazz for the British and European markets. The facility has the capacity to build 250,000 cars a year.

European car sales rose 5.2 percent in January, thanks to demand from countries which were previously most affected by the eurozone crisis, such as Italy, Portugal and Greece. Industry experts hope the slump in car sales will bottom out in 2014 as the sovereign debt crisis decreases.

By Dan Mihalascu

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