Honda pledges to re­main in Bri­tain de­spite Brexit jit­ters

The Sunday Telegraph - Money & Business - - Business - By Lucy Bur­ton

HONDA has promised to keep mak­ing and sell­ing cars in its Swin­don fac­tory de­spite the raft of un­cer­tain­ties fac­ing the econ­omy over Brexit and a ham­mer­ing of profits at the plant.

The Ja­panese car gi­ant has sounded a bullish out­look on its fu­ture in the coun­try de­spite see­ing profits in its UK sub­sidiary fall 21pc for the year to March 31, partly down to the re­cent slump in the pound.

That stands in stark con­trast with its Euro­pean arm, which in the com­ing days is due to un­veil a profit surge of more than 100pc for the same pe­riod amid in­creased sales vol­umes, ex­ports to the US and the strength­en­ing of the euro against ster­ling.

How­ever, the group said it re­mains “com­mit­ted” to its man­u­fac­tur­ing and sales ac­tiv­ity in the UK, point­ing to the £200m pumped into the fac­tory last year as proof.

That in­vest­ment, which made the fac­tory Honda’s global hub for the new five-door Civic, means the site is ex­port­ing cars “to dif­fer­ent global ter­ri­to­ries and is no longer solely re­liant on the Euro­pean mar­ket”, it said.

The Ja­panese group has put £2.2bn into its Wilt­shire base since it first opened the branch in 1985, with the plant see­ing pro­duc­tion vol­umes surge 30pc in the year to March as a re­sult of mak­ing the Civic five-door.

Its re­newed com­mit­ment to the UK will come as a re­lief to many. In July, car sales fell 9.3pc com­pared to the same month a year ago. Sales have now fallen for six con­sec­u­tive months.

A Honda spokesman said it would urge the gov­ern­ment to con­tinue di­a­logue with the EU “to de­liver a free and fric­tion­less trad­ing en­vi­ron­ment. This is cen­tral to our con­tin­ued suc­cess in the Euro­pean re­gion as a whole”.

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