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Honda makes cuts to British car production. Image by Honda.

Honda makes cuts to British car production
Reduced production for Honda in Swindon.
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Further production cuts have been announced by Honda following disappointing sales growth across Europe. The Japanese automaker unveiled the changes to its British manufacturing operations, citing the fact that it does not predict any improvement in sales over the next few years.

This year, Honda expects to produce just 120,000 vehicles from its manufacturing plant in Swindon. This is down from 149,094 in 2013, which itself marked a 15 per cent fall from the previous year. The decrease in manufacturing is due to the company failing to meet anticipated growth figures.

The move will see Honda Motor Europe reduce its shift patterns at the Swindon plant from three to two. This is set to result in a loss of just over 10 per cent of the workforce, with an estimated 340 employees losing their jobs. The news comes shortly after a cut of 800 jobs last year that lead to the restructuring of the plant.

"With no increase forecasted for the next couple of years, we must scale our manufacturing activity accordingly," said Honda Motor Europe's Senior Vice President, Ian Howells.

European carmakers are continuing to see dwindling sales figures. Over the past six years, potential consumers in austerity-hit countries are becoming ever more aware of the cost of their cars. In addition to the rise of comparison sites like confused, sites such as where you get a more tailored experience, are helping motorists shop around for cheaper car insurance, sites for buying and selling used cars have made it easier than ever to find good value second hand cars like Auto Trader, especially when you compare it to the limitations of previous options like the same company's magazine. As such, drivers in general are less willing to fork out for brand new vehicles and more savvy across the board.

Despite this trend, Howells has claimed that the company remains confident in the long-term future of the Swindon plant, which is seen as the hub of Honda's European manufacturing activity.

Many other major car manufacturers are also hoping for sales improvements this year, as the debt issue slowly improves. The situation is already seeming hopeful, with January marking a 5.2% rise in European car sales, bolstered by demand from financially improving countries such as Greece, Italy and Portugal.

Paul McShane - 4 Apr 2014

Honda Swindon factory. Image by Honda.Honda Swindon factory. Image by Honda.Honda Swindon factory. Image by Honda.  

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