Even though Honda has made 800 people redundant in Swindon – they will be leaving their jobs at the end of April – the company insists it has a long term future in a town where it has made millions of cars over 25 years.
“Last year we celebrated 25 years in Swindon and I feel sure we will still be here in Swindon for the next 25 years,” said a spokesperson.
Rumours are rife at times of economic disharmony, with the best recent one being: “Honda will be taking their production to Turkey.” Total tosh.
Since coming to the UK Honda has invested £2bn – and only last September there was a £267m investment for updating equipment. Every penny has been Honda’s own money.
The company has asked for nothing in the way of Government grants, while other manufacturers have held out the begging bowl.
No – Honda is here for Swindon in the long haul. We should remember that the Japanese plan for the long term – a decade is a mere blink of the eye.
The factory has plans to build 150,000 cars during the financial year ending in March 2014, only a few thousand less than in the current financial year, so it clearly has plenty of confidence.
When the jobs have gone Honda reckon to have a fit, lean workforce of around 2,500 people – almost half the total in the good old days when the factory was close to producing 240,000 vehicles per year.
There are around 100 Japanese employees at the Swindon plant. Their status is unaffected by this upheaval but they come and go to Japan in line with production levels.
On the good news front Honda will be building a new Civic station wagon later in the year and the sporty Civic Type R probably in 2015. The thing to remember is that Honda make very good vehicles; it is rare to see one of those vehicles broken down at the side of the road.