Published on March 29th, 2021 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Honda Sells Swindon Factory To Panattoni After 36 Years In UK
Logistics company Panattoni takes ownership of Honda Swindon.
On February 19th 2019 Honda of the UK Manufacturing (HUM) informed its associates (and employees) of their intention to close the Swindon vehicle manufacturing plant, at the end of the current model’s production lifecycle, in 2021.
The plant was producing 150,000 cars per year and was employing about 3,500 associates. Honda has been building Honda Civics in Swindon which is their only car factory in the European Union.
This proposal came as Honda accelerated its commitment for electrified cars, in response to the unprecedented changes in the global automotive industry. The significant challenges of electrification will see Honda revise its global manufacturing operations, and focus activity in regions where it expects to have high production volumes.
Now comes news that Honda (HMC) has found a buyer and agreed to sell its manufacturing plant in Swindon to a European logistics company, bidding farewell to the city after 36 years.
Europe’s largest logistics firm, Panattoni will take over the 370-acre car factory which is being closed down by Honda this July. The Swindon factory will be handed over to Panattoni by the third quarter of next year, with Panattoni promising to make a £700m (USD963m) investment in regenerating it.
Press Release: Honda of the UK Manufacturing (Honda) has today announced it has entered into a contract for sale of its Swindon site. Originally purchased by the Japanese car manufacturer in 1985, the site will be sold to Panattoni, Europe’s largest developer of new build industrial and logistics facilities.
In 2019, Honda Motor announced a restructuring of its global automobile manufacturing operations, which included the cessation of production at the UK plant in July 2021, at the end of the current model cycle of the Civic Hatchback. Following the closure announcement, Honda committed to leaving the site in a responsible way, with a sustainable legacy for Swindon.
Jason Smith, Director at Honda of the UK Manufacturing, said: “We are pleased to have identified a capable new owner of the site. From our engagement with Panattoni and initial discussions with Swindon Borough Council, we are confident that the new owner can bring the development forward in a commercially timely fashion and generate exciting prospects for Swindon and the wider community.”
Following the end of production on 30 July 2021, Honda will immediately commence the decommissioning of the Swindon site. The site is anticipated to be legally handed over in Spring 2022, once the necessary consents have been obtained, and Panattoni will start regeneration and redevelopment shortly thereafter.
James Watson, Development Director for Panattoni, said: “Panattoni is committing to invest over £700 million into the site to attract new employers and provide for existing businesses looking to expand in Swindon. We will be working very closely with Honda and Swindon Borough Council, along with the community and its representatives to regenerate the site.”
Matthew Byrom, Managing Director of Panattoni in the UK, said: “The acquisition of the 370-acre Honda facility demonstrates our capabilities to work at scale. The re-development of this strategic employment site will deliver thousands of new opportunities in roles which underpin the operation of the local and regional economy.”
Susie Kemp, Chief Executive of Swindon Borough Council, said: “The new opportunities outlined by Panattoni will be a major step in Swindon’s rejuvenation following Honda’s exit. Their investment offers a significant boost to the local economy and we are excited by the prospect of this redevelopment creating thousands of jobs for Swindon and the surrounding area. We already have a strong working relationship with Panattoni following their recent development of the adjacent site, Symmetry Park, and look forward to working with them over the next year. We understand that Honda’s key aim was to identify a responsible new owner and I believe today’s announcement demonstrates that.”
As part of its continued efforts to leave a positive legacy in the local community, Honda will assess opportunities for small sections at the edge of the site that are not required for Panattoni’s development to be utilized by the neighboring communities.
Panattoni will now commence all necessary planning work with Swindon Borough Council, with support from Honda.