London: Japanese car giant Honda is expected to announce that it will close its plant in south west England in 2022, putting 3,500 jobs at risk, according to media reports on Monday.
The carmaker is due to announce the closure of its Swindon plant on Tuesday, according to Sky News, but still retain its European headquarters in nearby Bracknell.
Other carmakers including Nissan and Ford have also warned that jobs could be lost at British plants as it prepares to leave the European Union, but local MP Justin Tomlinson said the Honda decision was not down to Brexit. "I have already spoken to... Honda. They are clear this is based on global trends and not Brexit as all European market production will consolidate in Japan in 2021," he tweeted. The company is not expected to announce any job losses until 2021, he added.
The carmaker said in a statement that "we are not able to make any comments regarding the speculation. "We take our responsibilities to our people very seriously and will always communicate any significant news with them first," it added.
The Swindon plant, Honda's only one in the European Union, has produced the Civic model for the global market for over 24 years, with 150,000 units rolling off the line every year. Rival Japanese carmaker Nissan announced earlier this month that it was cancelling plans to build its X-Trail SUV in north east England, citing uncertainty surrounding Brexit as a factor.
Jaguar Land Rover has also warned about the risks of leaving the EU without a deal, triggering the imposition of tariffs on exports to the bloc. Senior vice-president of Honda Europe Ian Howells said last year that Britain leaving the EU without a deal would cost the company tens of millions of pounds, but that they were preparing for such an outcome.