Honda Axes 800 Jobs In Swindon A Year After It Takes On 500 Staff

Staff at Honda's Swindon plant were today greeted at the office by news that 800 of them would be facing the sack.

In a statement released on Friday, Honda Motor Europe said the job losses at the factory - which employs 3,500 people - were necessary to "ensure the long term stability of its future business".

"Sustained conditions of low demand in European markets make it necessary to re-align Honda's business structure. As such, Honda of the UK Manufacturing will enter into formal consultation with its associates to consider these changes and the proposal that it will reduce the workforce by 800 associates by Spring 2013," the statement from Ken Keir, executive vice president of Honda Motor Europe read.

"Honda remains fully committed for the long-term to its UK and European manufacturing operations. However, these conditions of sustained low industry demand require us to take difficult decisions. We are setting the business constitution at the right level to ensure long term stability and security."

The news comes just over a year after the motoring giant announced 500 new jobs would be created at the same plant as it prepared to launch its new Civic.

And in September 2012, a £267 million investment programme was announced for the Swindon site to support the introduction of a new CR-V model, the new Civic and a new 1.6 litre diesel engine.

Business Secretary Vince Cable was at the site to announce the news, and praised Honda for "creating a host of new jobs", adding: "The investment supports government's ambition to encourage new investment and exports as a route to renewed growth and a more balanced economy."

Production at the plant was forecast to double by the end of 2012 to 183,000 cars compared with 2011, rising to 250,000 within the next three years.

The dip in production could be explained by the latest figures on car registrations from the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association, which showed in the first 11 months of 2012, 131,346 Hondas were registered in Europe, down 6.2% from the same period last year.

Honda also experienced tough times in 2009, when it was forced to shut the Swindon plant for three months during a global slump in car production.