There's one reason why.
The current generation Honda Civic Type R hot hatchback and Civic Hatchback are both built in the UK at the automaker's Swindon factory. This will change for the upcoming eleventh-generation models that are set to be built in the US. In the meantime, the outgoing generation models remain in production but there's a problem. Again.
Automotive News Europe reports Honda has been forced to halt production for a second time at Swindon for at least two days this week because of global supply delays. Swindon was forced to shut down for a few days last month because of several issues, such as growing Covid-19 numbers and Brexit-related problems.
This time around, the two-day-long closure’s supply troubles involve the same issues, though production will start again on Thursday, January, 7. Honda, like many automakers, operates what’s called a just-in-time manufacturing system, meaning components from overseas suppliers are delivered exactly when they’re needed. The pandemic caused serious disruptions to the global supply network in general, including the auto industry.
For example, a container port where Swindon receives shipments from the Far East experienced congestion issues last month. Without those components, new Civics could not be built. Swindon’s two-day closure comes just after employees returned from a holiday break and now they’re being sent home again.
In 2019, Swindon built nearly 110,000 vehicles but the final 2020 tally is expected to be lower. Unfortunately, Honda plans to close the facility permanently later this year as part of its global restructuring plans. But many believe the real reason is Brexit. Supply problems caused by the pandemic are temporary but Brexit is not. Although a trade deal has just been finalized between the UK and EU, many automakers, including Honda, no longer see a manufacturing future for themselves there. Instead of building another vehicle in place of the Civic at Swindon, Honda prefers to cut its losses and call it a day in the UK.