These are frightening times for workers at Honda with over 800 redundancies being planned less than a year after they announced a multimillion pound investment at their Swindon plant.
In periods like this you sit back and wonder what the future holds if this can happen to a giant like Honda, and at this point I have to declare a personal interest because my brother-in-law works at the Swindon plant and has held in a variety of positions in the past 20 years.
He is obviously very worried for his and his colleague’s future but isn’t at all surprised. If you cast your mind not too far back you will recall they shut the factory down for 4 months last year and carried out some voluntary redundancies and although they are blaming the recession in the Eurozone for the slump in demand for Hondas the irony is that if you look at our car makers premier league you can clearly see the steady decline of sales by Honda whilst others have gained ground at their expense.
In the trade the civic is not seen as a particularly exciting car and not one that used car buyer’s flock to except if they are very cheap and the CRV which is considered the only real car of note in the range has been caught up by the competition. Also if you look at other manufacturers and the sheer range of cars in each sector Honda present very slim pickings in comparison and customers both here and on the continent have clearly voted with their feet.
My brother-in-law (let’s call him “worried of Swindon”) has worked hard with his colleagues to produce quality cars and after the positive investment news of last year this latest announcement has come as a shattering blow in a region where Honda is the major employer.
So 2013 has found its first negative car related news story which will have a direct effect on working people’s lives not to mention the knock on effect locally.
So as a wakeup call for all those that thought the 5.3% rise in new car registrations in 2012 was a sign that the new car trade was accelerating away from recession into quantum growth may just realise that the hard work and dedication must continue apace.