Honda pauses production at Swindon car plant as parts deliveries are hit by UK port delays

December 9, 2020

Production at car giant Honda’s Swindon plant is being paused because of a shortage of parts, the firm announced today.

The plant, which will close permanently next year with the loss of all 3,500 jobs, was being hit by “transport-related parts delay”, Honda said. 

A number of UK ports are struggling to cope with demand as firms replenish stocks following lockdown at the same time as many are stockpiling ahead of expected delays caused by the end of the UK-EU transition period on December 1.

The giant Swindon plant, which builds the Honda Civic car and a range of engines, relies on components arriving on its production lines using the ‘just-in-time’ method – meaning it needs a constant, regular supply.

Some large parts are stored in buffer warehouses close to the plant at South Marston but these are also fed through to the car plant in small batches.

Honda has not said which parts are being affected or where they are sourced from.

The company told the BBC: “The situation is currently being monitored with a view to restart production as soon as possible.”

It is understood to be looking at alternative arrangements, such as flying parts in, but Honda of the UK Manufacturing – the arm of Honda that runs the plant – has told employees that production will not take place today.

The plant, which started making cars in 1992 and is Honda’s only car production site in Europe, built just under 110,000 cars last year – down on 160,000 in 2018. Some 90% of its output is exported to the EU and US.

Production will move to Japan and the 360-acre site sold for redevelopment.

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