Honda sign at a tsunami-damaged building in Kesennuma town, Miyagi Prefecture

Honda halves production following Japan earthquake

Honda will halve production at its Swindon factory because of a shortage of parts from Japan.

Supply has been interrupted by the devastating earthquake and tsunami, and Honda said this will have an impact on UK production.

Car parts for the three models built in the Wiltshire plant are mostly sourced from Europe, but a number of parts continue to be supplied from Japan.

Around 22,500 fewer cars will be built, although Honda said it will make up the production by the end of the financial year and the 3,000 plant workers will remain on full pay.

"Production volume will continue at approximately 50% of the planned weekly level from April 11," Honda said.

"Honda of the UK Manufacturing (HUM) will be able to continue production by utilising HUM's flexible working policy and once full production is resumed, the reduced volume production will be quickly recovered using the banked hours."

Car and component production was suspended after the March 11 disaster, but Honda said last month that car production at its Suzuka and Sayama factories would resume from April 11, with production and shipment of component parts starting this week.

Production of component parts and vehicles at Honda plants in Japan will resume at around 50 per cent of the original production plan due to an "unstable" parts supply situation.

"As parts supply stabilises and full production resumes, Honda will quickly develop a production schedule to meet the needs of Honda's European customers," Honda said.

Unite regional officer Jim D'Avila said the union understood "the difficult and extraordinary circumstances facing Japan" and its representatives were co-operating with Honda.

"Thanks to a working time agreement that Unite negotiated in 2009, there will be no loss of earnings for the workforce while the company cuts production," he said.

Nissan will also have three non-production days at the end of the month at its Sunderland plant after its component supply was interrupted by the quake.

No cars will be built there from the end of shifts on April 21 until May 3 due to the Easter break and extra holiday for the royal wedding.

Nissan said it was "confident of making a complete recovery in the short term" and that the effect on its 5,000 workers in Sunderland will be kept to a minimum by bringing forward non-production days already planned for later in the year.

"Plant management remains in close contact with Nissan's global supply chain function to assess the need for any further action to align production with the availability of parts on an ongoing basis," Nissan said.

"Demand for all Sunderland-produced models remains high, and once the normal delivery of components has been re-established, the plant will work to recover any lost volume as quickly as possible.

"Nissan is well-placed to respond quickly and flexibly to the current challenges despite the current temporary operational difficulties being faced by all vehicle manufacturers."

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