London, United Kingdom (4E) – Citing weak demand of its cars in Europe, Honda announced it is cutting 800 jobs at its UK factory, the first time the company will downsize in the country since it started manufacturing operations there in 1992.
The workers at the Japanese car maker’s plant in Swindon, England were told of the news as they arrived at work Friday morning.
Honda offered the statutory 90-day notice of consultation and hopes to prevent compulsory redundancies.
Honda Motor Europe executive vice president Ken Keir said that Honda of the UK Manufacturing (HUM) will proceed with formal consultation with its associates to discuss changes including the proposal to cut the workforce by 800 by spring of 2013.
The Swindon plant employs 3,500 people and builds the Civic, CR-V and Jazz models. Just a year ago, the company added 500 people to its workforce. In 2012, the plant manufactured 166,000 cars, which was well below its capacity of 250,000 units.
In a statement, Honda said that demand for their cars across European markets including Italy, Spain and Greece had dropped by a million over the past 12 months. A third of the cars built in the facility are sold in the UK, with the rest being shipped to 26 other countries mostly in Europe.
The company said that prolonged period of weak demand in Europe required necessary realignment in Honda’s business structure.