Profits tumble as Honda heads into long UK break

Workers at the UK factory of Japanese motor giant Honda will make the last cars for four months today because of an extended shutdown caused by the slump in sales.

Production at the plant in Swindon, Wiltshire, will be halted at the end of today's shift until 1 June.

The 4,200 workers will receive their full basic pay for the first two months, reducing to 60 per cent for the rest of the production shutdown.

Honda has stressed its commitment to retaining its Swindon workforce until the autumn when the Jazz model is due to go into production.

A number of UK car plants have cut production and jobs because of the huge slump in sales caused by the recession, which has had a knock-on effect on supplier firms.

Meanwhile Honda Motor Co. slashed its annual profit target by over half today as quarterly profit tumbled 90 per cent, hit by rising costs, a stronger yen and falling sales in key markets.

Japan's No. 2 automaker said net profit for the October-December period was 20.24 billion yen versus 200 billion a year earlier.

Honda cut its profit target for the current fiscal year through to March by 57 per cent, to 80 billion yen ($888.9 million) from 185 billion yen. The revenue target was lowered by 3 per cent to 10.1 trillion yen from 10.4 trillion yen.