Honda finds buyer for Swindon car plant

Honda will sell its Swindon car plant, which is due to close in July, to industrial logistics firm Panattoni.

The Japanese firm decided in 2019 to shut its sole UK factory, which houses production for the Civic hatchback, and has been actively seeking a buyer since then.

There had been suggestions that the site could be sold to another car firm – with Swindon councillors even lobbying Elon Musk for Tesla to buy the site – but it now seems unlikely the site will continue to be used for automotive production.

Panattoni is one of the largest developers of industrial and logistics facilities in Europe and has committed to investing more than £700 million into redeveloping the site to attract new businesses. It will work with Swindon Borough Countil on the regeneration project.

Civic production will end at the plant in July, after which Honda will begin a decommissioning process at the site, before handing it over to Panattoni in early 2022. Manufacturing equipment from the site will shortly start to be sold off through an online auction.

Honda of the UK Manufacturing director Jason Smith said the firm is “pleased to have identified a capable new owner of the site” that will “generate exciting prospects for Swindon and the wider community”.

Honda says it is committed to leaving a “positive legacy” in the local community and is currently assessing opportunities for a few small sections of the site not required by Panattoni.

Honda opened its Swindon plant in 1985, on a site previously used for aircraft and train production. Car production began there in 1989. As well as the Civic, the Accord, Jazz and CR-V models have previously been built there. Around 3400 people worked at the site.