Honda plans to cut 800 jobs at its Swindon plant, following “low demand” for its vehicles across Europe.
The Japanese carkmaker’s 3,500 UK staff were told the news this morning.
The surprise move – which marks the first time Honda have made UK redundancies – comes after the company hired 500 workers last year and invested £267m in its Swindon factory.
Demand for cars in Europe, including Spain, Italy and Greece, had fallen by a million in the past year, the company said.
Honda’s European vice president Ken Keir said the company’s 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,” he said.
“We are setting the business constitution at the right level to ensure long term stability and security.”
The company said it would hold discussions with workers in Swindon and would seek to avoid compulsory redundancies.
Last year, a third of the 150,000 cars built at the Swindon factory were sold in the UK, with the rest exported to 26 countries, mainly in Europe.
The Jazz, Civic and CR-V Honda models are built at the plant, which has an annual capacity of 250,000.