Page last updated at 12:01 GMT, Friday, 21 November 2008

Honda Swindon closing for 50 days

Honda S2000
Honda makes a range of family, sports and utility vehicles

Honda has announced plans to cut production at its plant in Swindon, which will close for 50 days next year.

Honda said it plans to make 61,000 fewer vehicles in Japan and Europe as it struggles to cope with slowing global demand.

It will make 21,000 fewer vehicles at the Wiltshire plant, home to the popular Civic model.

The 50-day shutdown will mean the Swindon plant will close for the whole of February and March 2009.

The company said that there are "no plans for redundancies" at the Swindon plant.

"This is unexpected bad news," said Jim D'Avilia, labour union Unite's regional officer.

"The union, staff and the company need to work together to minimise any financial hardship and to find ways to protect pay and long-term job security," he added.

The car maker had already announced plans to stop production at the plant for 13 days during the two months. The extension of this period means that no vehicles will be produced in Swindon during February and March.

Dramatic cuts

Earlier this year, Honda announced that it would cut output at Swindon by 32,000 units. With Friday's announcement of further production cuts, the Swindon plant will now produce 175,000 vehicles this financial year, down 23% from an original forecast of 225,000 vehicles.

Friday's announcement also means that Honda will have reduced its overall global annual vehicle production by 150,000 vehicles.

Rival Japanese carmaker Toyota is also suffering from the economic slowdown. It announced on Friday plans to cut its domestic temporary workforce in half.

"We will not be renewing contracts for 3,000 of our temporary workers at the end of March 2009," the company said.

Mazda, another of Japan's largest car markers, announced on Thursday that it would cut 1,300 jobs and cut production for the current year by 48,000 units.

Isuzu, one of Japan's biggest truck makers, also announced on Thursday that it would cut 1,400 domestic jobs and cut production for the year by 10%.

Tough economic conditions and banks' unwillingness to lend money mean global demand for cars is slowing dramatically.

In the US, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler are seeking a cash injection from the government after a collapse in sales.

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