Honda Cars PH to stop automobile production in March

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 22) — Automobile maker Honda announced on Saturday that it will stop production operations in the country by next month.

Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. said the company will close its production plant in Sta. Rosa, Laguna in March. The company is known to produce passenger cars and models such as the BR-V and City.

HCPI said closing the plant was necessary to meet customer's needs through "efficient allocation and distribution of resources."

"As such, after consideration of optimization efforts in the production operations in Asia and Oceania region, Honda decided to close the manufacturing operations of HCPI," said HCPI in a statement.

The company said it has around 650 employed associates in the country but it did not detail how many may be affected by the closure. However, it clarified that automobile sales and after-sales services will still continue.

Labor group Defend Jobs Philippines claimed that there are 387 people who will lose their jobs over the closure of the plant. The group said workers from 60 other companies who supply parts to HCPI will also be affected.

Defend Jobs Philippines said it has urged the Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to “directly intervene, conduct impartial investigation and thoroughly look into” the reported closure.

"Our government must not just allow the announced closure of HCPI without undergoing proper evaluation and assessment but rather consider the holistic benefits of Filipino workers," said Thadeus Ifurung, Defend Jobs Philippines spokesperson.

HCPI has a capital investment of ₱1.9 billion. It was first established in 1990 and it started production in 1992.

Last month, Honda, along with fellow automaker Toyota, recalled millions of vehicles due to safety issues. Honda recalled 2.7 million cars - of which 2.4 million are in the United States. On the other hand, Toyota called back 3.4 million cars, 2.9 million of which are in the United States.

In February 2019, Honda also announced that it will shut down its only British factory on 2021, which employs 3,500 people. Honda said production would shift to Japan, North America and China. Christian Stadler, an auto expert and professor of strategic management at Warwick Business School, said Brexit or the United Kingdom's departure from the European Union may have been a factor in the automaker's decision, CNN reported.