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Honda move is down to the world markets

Speaking in September, Ian Howells, senior vice-president of Honda Europe, said the company remained “right behind” its plant in Swindon and was not considering moving out of the UK after Brexit.

It was a similar line taken by Nissan when they promised to build the new X-Trail in their Sunderland factory.

Of course the avid Remainers will claim the Honda decision is all to do with Brexit – they know it is not. The reality is that Swindon is making less cars than it did 10 years ago.

Indeed it’s a one model production facility with output down from a high of 230,000 to a mere 160,000 - many of which are powered by a diesel powertrain, a disaster in modern motor manufacturing terms where hybrid and electric technology are the ‘new kids on the block’.

For Honda – Japan is home to their electric vehicle production plans, they also have significant spare capacity at their Yorii facility, which opened in 2013.

The claim that EU imposed tariffs on cars made in the UK is to blame is nonsense. The EU has just signed a Free Trade Agreement with Japan which will see tariffs reduced over a period of time - but importantly all cars produced in Japan will pay over 6% duty until 2027 – that’s five years after Honda leaves Swindon!

The reality is that the world market for cars has imploded, the USA and Japan and involved in a trade stand-off and the repercussions are being felt across the globe. Only recently Honda issued a statement in which it made its position clear.

“We need to increase manufacturing power here in Japan to increase global production efficiency,” Honda said. “Due to changes in the market situation, we weren’t able to grow domestic sales as much as anticipated, and we are in a situation where we cannot grow exports.”

Des Morgan, Caraway Drive, Swindon

Let’s make our own cars

It is shocking news that Honda are pulling out of Swindon. It is reported that some other Japanese car makers will also soon be leaving Britain.

One of the reasons for this is that the EU have agreed a new trade deal with Japan. This gives them tariff free access to the EU market and that is why they are moving production back to Japan.

Tony Blair refused to give funding to MG Rover in 2005. When it was closed down MG Rover was Britain’s last remaining British owned car maker.

Britain needs a home grown car maker that can be relied upon to stay in Britain.

Perhaps the nationalisation of the Honda plant in Swindon could be the answer so that we could once again make our own cars here in Britain.

Steve Halden, Beaufort Green, Swindon

Deluded politicians

Honda did not come to Swindon because they loved English ale or admired the glorious countryside. Honda came to Swindon because we were inside the EU and Honda will leave as we leave the EU, whilst Brexit apologists continue in complete denial of the blatantly obvious.

This month JLA announced 4,500 jobs to go plus new investment in a Slovakian factory inside the EU, Ford stated unequivocally as they shed 400 jobs that the whole future of UK Ford is in the balance and Nissan scrapped the plan to build European X Trail in the UK. And now Honda by far the most serious.

Tories seem to think of it as private fun, some kind of game. Their recklessness is only surpassed by the patent inadequacy of Labour. Frankly I despair! Only these delusional Politicians could seriously believe that two years of uncertainty, public argument, and knife edge negotiations ending with NO PLAN just five weeks before the country cuts ties with its largest market, would have zero consequence for notoriously promiscuous international capital.

A nation like ours, who doesn’t own or control most of its industry and commerce, is about to find out just what a small, inconsequential and disconnected country can do alone in a future increasingly dominated by large global players.

With again the exception of hapless party politicians who are duty-bound to defend the chaos they have created, does anyone in their right mind seriously think Honda would bin 30 years and £1.5 billion of investment in Swindon, if it was business as usual inside the EU?

As 3,500 skilled Honda tradesman end up in the queue for Costa Coffee barista jobs, I have to confess to Bill, Steve, Alan, Des et al that I was wrong after all.

I thought the terminal decline of a manufacturing sector doing rather well, would take at least 10 years.

John Stooke, Havisham Drive, Swindon

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