Honda sells Swindon car plant to logistics firm Panattoni

Credit: ITV News

Honda has sold its car plant in Swindon to logistics firm Panattoni.

The Japanese firm announced the site, which is its only remaining factory in England, would close in 2019.

It will be handed over to Panattoni in Spring 2022 and the company has pledged pledged to make a £700m investment to regenerate the site.

The news has been cautiously welcomed by the union Unite. A spokesperson said: “It is of the utmost importance that all stakeholders, including local and national government, Honda and Panattoni, ensure that manufacturers are given every incentive to make the site their home. 

“Swindon and the whole of the South West have a proud manufacturing legacy, especially in industries such as automotive and aerospace.

“Not only is high-spec manufacturing crucial for providing secure well-paid jobs for our communities, but it is also essential for tackling the climate emergency and reaching net zero.

“These jobs need to come to Swindon and Unite will be knocking on every door and exhausting every avenue to make sure that they do.” 

What is Panattoni?

  • The firm describes itself as the UK’s largest “speculative developer” and Europe’s “largest developer of logistics property” – otherwise known as warehouses and distribution centres.

  • It is the company behind the huge Symmetry Park warehouse deal in Swindon.

  • It specialises in large developments of industrial sites and warehousing often built without a specific client in mind.

The plant produces up to 150,000 cars a year Credit: ITV News

James Watson, Development Director for Panattoni, said the firm is "committing to invest more than £700million into the site" to attract new employers and provide for existing businesses.

He added: "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, added: “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.”

Honda said it was closing the site because of global changes in the car industry.

The company's Civic and Civic Type R models are currently produced at there, with around 3,000 people work at the plant producing up to 150,000 new cars every year.

Despite facing closure, production has continued, though the pandemic has caused some supply issues.

Credit: Aled Thomas, Local Democracy Reporter

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