Honda quits Britain, says it's not about Brexit

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on February 19, 2019 - Duration: 01:44s

Honda quits Britain, says it's not about Brexit

Honda says it will stop making cars in the UK, but the Japanese firm says it's not about Brexit, just a response to a changing global market.

Julian Satterthwaite reports.

Honda quits Britain, says it's not about Brexit

A fresh headache for Britain's government Tuesday (February 19) - this time courtesy of Japanese carmaker Honda.

The firm has confirmed plans to end manufacturing in the country.

Its plant in the southwest town of Swindon will close in 2021.

That could could cost over 3,500 jobs.

The decision is likely to be seized on by opponents of Brexit.

Though Honda says its decision is unconnected.

It just wants to consolidate production in Japan.

The company says it has to make changes as the industry switches to electric vehicles.

(SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) HONDA MOTORS CEO, TAKAHIRO HACHIGO, SAYING: "As you are aware, the car industry is facing a turning point.

In these circumstances, in order for Honda to survive, we need to provide products in a speedy manner to meet our customers' needs and to keep on creating new value for the future." But the firm had previously warned that Brexit raised the risk of huge disruption.

And its departure will add to fears about the position of other carmakers.

Together, Honda, Toyota and Nissan account for about half of Britain's car output.

Nissan has already scrapped plans to build one future model in the country - partly blaming Brexit.

And it's not just the Japanese firms to watch.

Last week sources told Reuters that U.S. giant Ford has also threatened to move work overseas, if Brexit goes badly.

Meanwhile Britain's biggest carmaker, Jaguar Land Rover, has announced sweeping job cuts.

For the British government, a success story is turning into a political nightmare.

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