UK - Honda Car Plant Closing Costs 3,500 Jobs

Arno Froese

Japanese car maker Honda is set to announce it’s closing its only British car plant in 2022 with the loss of 3,500 jobs, a lawmaker told Reuters, in the latest blow to the UK car industry as Brexit approaches.

Honda built over 160,000 vehicles at Swindon, where it makes the hatchback version of its popular Civic model, accounting for a little more than 10 percent of Britain’s total output of 1.52 million cars.

But it has struggled in Europe in recent years, and the industry faces a number of challenges including declining diesel vehicle demand and tougher regulations alongside the uncertainty over Britain’s departure from the European Union.

Japan has repeatedly warned it could pull investments in Britain, which it had seen as a gateway into Europe, if London does not secure a Brexit deal favorable for trade.

The recently agreed EU-Japan trade agreement means tariffs on cars from Japan to the continent will be eliminated, while Britain is struggling to make progress on talks over post-Brexit trade relations with Tokyo.

Honda’s announcement would come just over two weeks after bigger Japanese car maker Nissan canceled plans to build its X-Trail sport utility vehicle in Britain.

In January, Britain’s biggest automaker Jaguar Land Rover said it would cut 10 percent of its workforce, mainly at home, due to sluggish sales to China and a slump in European diesel demand.

“The car industry in the UK over the last two decades has been the jewel in the crown for the manufacturing sector—and now it has been brought low by the chaotic Brexit uncertainty,” said Des Quinn, national officer for the automotive sector at Unite, Britain’s biggest trade union.

Honda said it would shut its British operations for six days in April to help counter any border disruption from Brexit. It was also preparing to front-load some production at its plant to ship overseas or build up inventories.

Nissan, Honda and a third Japanese car maker, Toyota Motor Corp, together account for roughly half of the cars built in Britain.

-www.reuters.com, 18 February 2019

Arno's commentary

There are multiple reasons and inexhaustible arguments for or against Brexit. One thing becomes crystal clear: any nation wanting to prosper needs to be part of an ever growing, globally connected community. Prognosticators indicate that the UK’s departure will be painful for the EU, but more so for the UK.

Statistics for 2017 show UK exports at $441.2 billion, with imports of $615.9 billion. Exports to the EU stand at about 45%, and imports from the EU at about 53%, according to www.parliament.uk. Naturally, these figures will not be the same after Brexit, and will have to be negotiated one country at a time. How do we analyze this development? In simple words, it’s just a hiccup toward total globalization, as clearly documented in Holy Scripture.

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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