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Honda becomes third manufacturer to warn of post-Brexit shut-down

Honda Civic production line, Swindon

Honda has joined BMW/Mini and Toyota in making plans for a temporary post-Brexit shut-down period at their UK manufacturing plant.

The Japanese manufacturer has told the 3,500 staff employed at its Swindon production facility – which produces the Honda Civic hatchback – that it will halt production for six days following the UK’s departure from the EU on March 29.

The move will allow the group to stockpile parts in the days immediately following Brexit in an attempt to mitigate the effects of potential tariffs and customs checks on a “just in time” parts delivery system.

Quoted by the Financial Times today, an excerpt from a notice issued to Honda’s UK workforce said: “Honda of the UK Manufacturing Ltd has been assessing how best to prepare for any disruption caused by logistics and border issues following the UK leaving the EU on 29 March 2019.

“To ensure Honda is well paced to adjust to all possible outcomes, we are planing six nonproduction days in April 2019.

“This is to facilitate production recovery activity following any delays at borders on parts.

“These contingency provisions have been put in place to best mitigate the risk of disruption to production operations at the Swindon factory.”

Earlier this year, BMW announced that it would move the annual six-week shut-down of its Plant Oxford Mini factory from the summer to April in order to allow time to adjust to post-Brexit trading constraints.

Toyota is also likely to shut its Burnaston plant temporarily, following suggestion sthat it would be forced to react to any supply chain disruption.

Speaking to AM last year, Honda UK managing director David Hodgetts, who held the post of division manager of production planning and logistics between 1998 and 2005 – a time of considerable growth at the plant – said that he believed that the plant’s future looked bright, despite the prospect of Brexit.

He said: “I kind of think of (the Brexit vote) in a slightly insular way – it’s not that bad for Honda UK. We have some major advantages now that we didn’t have before,” he said.

“We have a situation where our factory in Swindon is back to full capacity because we’re making half our cars for the US market.

“The market in the US is very strong for the Civic.”

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