Focusing on electrification, Honda to close English plant

One of the biggest employers in Ohio, Honda, has said it will shut down a vehicle assembly operation in the United Kingdom.

Honda of the UK Manufacturing (HUM) said it is focusing anew on electrified cars, a response to sweeping changes in the global automotive industry.

“The significant challenges of electrification will see Honda revise its global manufacturing operations, and focus activity in regions where it expects to have high production volumes,” the company said in a statement Tuesday.

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“Under this proposed restructure, HUM’s current role as a global manufacturing hub may no longer be viable,” the automaker added.

The automaker said it was informing Swindon employees that at the end of the current model’s production lifecycle, in 2021, that plant will be closed.

The Swindon plant produces 150,000 cars per year, and employs about 3,500 people, Honda said.

Greg Clark, Britain’s business secretary, called the decision “devastating,” the New York Times reported.

Honda has about 13,000 Ohio employees, mostly in West-Central Ohio north of Springfield and northwest of Columbus, as well as an extensive distribution operation in Troy.

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The company has estimated that about 1,000 Dayton-area residents commute to its Ohio assembly plants each day, including its Anna engine plant located about an hour’s drive north of Dayton along Interstate 75.

Asked if the accelerated focus on electrification held any implications for Ohio plants, a company spokesman in Ohio said efforts to strengthen electrification will be concentrated in China, Japan and the United States.

“It’s too early to speculate on impacts on specific plants at this time,” Honda spokesman Chris Abbruzzese said.

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