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All eyes on £20m Gloucester investment after Honda withdraws from UK

At the end of last month (January) we were championing a near £20 million investment in a car-parts manufacturer in Gloucester - that was before Honda announced plans to close its Swindon plant.

Little-known to many, the company based on Gloucester Business Park employs 500 staff manufacturing and designing parts for the likes of Honda, under the name G-Tekt Europe Manufacturing Ltd.

Think of it as a white-label specialist serving some of the world's most famous marques.

Punchline caught up with the business at the end of January when it took part in an apprenticeship recruitment evening at Gloucestershire Engineering Training, which helps train its skilled staff.

It was still looking to entice in the next generation with the lure of an exciting career in engineering - and the possibility of a stint in Japan, the home of its owners.

G-Tekt Europe Manufacturing Ltd is a subsidiary of G-Tekt Corporation and an affiliate of Honda Motor Company Japan.

Now Honda has revealed it plans to close its Swindon factory in 2021 with the loss of 3,500 jobs the phone of the media officer at the Gloucester business has become red-hot.

Everyone is asking the same question - 'what does it mean for Gloucestershire?'.

G-Tekt does not have all its eggs in one basket. It also helps design and make the bodywork for the likes of BMW, but it has been key to the manufacture of models like the popular Honda Civic.

When we wrote the story in January we had the UK's future trading relationship with Europe in mind, as Honda also targets mainland Europe with its vehicles. The Swindon plant is its only manufacturing base in the European Union.

Ninety per cent of its cars made their are exported to Europe or the US.

We are all now aware that a new trading agreement is to come into force between Japan and the EU which will make manufacturing in the Land of the Rising Sun a viable option.

It is worth bearing in mind the firm has also been building a plant in Slovakia, which we were told was to support Jaguar Land Rover's new European production. The investment was also believed to be in the region of £20 million.

Both new factories - Gloucester and Slovakia - are expected to be operation later this year.

Its Gloucester facility was established in 1996 and has been a £100 million investment to date.

Its current factory hosts 300 industrial robots and classes itself as one of the European leaders in the automotive sector.

There was no comment from G-Tekt at the time of publishing.

Punchline said: First of all - our thoughts are with Honda staff at Swindon, their families and friends.

Brexit aside, whatever the reasons for the decision by Honda, we would like to think the UK Government has been working hard behind the scenes to try to head off such a decision. It might have come as a shock to the man in the street a new trading agreement had been reached between Europe and Japan, but it would be sad to think it took our own politicians by surprise as well.

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