Honda is extending a production shutdown at its UK car plant – blamed on transport-related delays to parts – until the end of the week.
The Japanese car maker had paused activity at the Swindon site on Wednesday and has now said this will continue on Thursday and Friday with a view to re-starting on Monday.
It comes at a time of mounting concern over congestion at Britain’s major ports – blamed on coronavirus disruption to global trade as well as Brexit stockpiling and a Christmas spike in imports.
Honda said in a statement that it had “confirmed to employees that production will not run on Thursday 10 or Friday 11 December due to transport-related parts delays”.
“The situation is currently being monitored with a view to re-start production on Monday 14 December,” the car maker said.
Honda’s Swindon plant, which turned out just under 110,000 Civic cars last year, is earmarked for closure next year with the loss of 3,500 jobs.
BMW, which builds parts at a site near Honda’s in Swindon and manufactures the Mini in Oxford, told Reuters it was seeing “longer transit times” though both sites had started an annual Christmas shutdown with no impact on output or maintenance.
“Our business is well prepared for a wide range of different scenarios that may have an impact on delivery schedules,” the company said.
Jaguar Land Rover and Vauxhall, when asked by Sky News, said they were not experiencing similar problems as those reported by Honda.
Britain’s car making industry faces a series of challenges including the threat of a no-deal Brexit to its “just in time” supply chains as well as dwindling demand for diesel vehicles and the challenge of a switch to electric.
A number of plants were temporarily shut down earlier this year at the start of the coronavirus crisis as demand collapsed with showrooms closed.