Honda plant to close for two months

Japanese car giant Honda has announced plans to cut production at its Swindon plant and close for two months next year.

The plant will stop production next February or March, reducing car production at Swindon in the current financial year from an originally announced 228,000 units to 175,000 units.

The company has said that none of the 4,800 workers will be laid off and workers will still be paid.

Jim D'Avila, the regional officer of union Unite, said: "This is unexpected bad news. The union, staff and the company need to work together to minimise any financial hardship and protect job security."

Honda had already planned to have 13 non-production days at Swindon in February. Carmaking at two plants in Japan and the United States will also be reduced.

Tadashi Arashima, chief executive of the Toyota Motor Group, said: "The business climate has changed very rapidly, making 2008 an extremely difficult year for car makers.

"Under these conditions it seems unlikely that we will match our 2007 sales result this year."

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said total car production fell by 25% in the UK last month, the lowest October level since 1991.

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