More than 400 jobs are to be lost in the automotive sector after Toyoda Gosei announced it was pulling out of the UK.
The firm, which produces components for Nissan, Toyota, Renault and Honda, has UK plants at Gorseinon in Swansea and Rotherham in South Yorkshire and employs 458 people.
There are 207 people permanently employed at the Swansea site and 251 in Rotherham, the company’s UK headquarters.
A statement said the business was responding to changes in the global sector and a “significant reduction” in UK customer demand.
A formal period of consultation with employees is under way.
Toyoda Gosei UK (TGUK) managing director Shigenori Matsuo said: “We understand and regret the uncertainty that this will cause for everyone at the Swansea and Rotherham sites and are doing all we can to support our employees throughout the consultation process.”
A spokesperson added: “There isn’t one factor that has resulted in the announcement today.”
TGUK said it was working with its parent company Toyoda Gosei to discuss the future of the UK operation.
The company said it had previously reorganised its business in Europe, selling shares in a German subsidiary and moving some production to its main manufacturing site in the Czech Republic.
Local politicians and business figures said they were shocked by the news.
Andrew Denniff, from Rotherham and Barnsley Chamber of Commerce, said the business was a major force in the town and its loss would have a huge impact on families, as well as across the UK. “The impact of Brexit has now become an unpleasant reality,” he added.
Sarah Champion, Labour MP for Rotherham, said the news had come “out of the blue”. She said she would support the workers through “this hugely stressful time” and try to secure the plant’s future.
A Welsh government spokesperson recognised that workers faced a worrying time, adding the government was in touch with Toyoda Gosei about their plans to close the Swansea site.
“We will remain in contact with the company during the consultation period,” he said.
Toyoda Gosei’s Swansea site, which opened in 2011, makes moulded and painted car parts, while the Rotherham plant manufactures rubber body sealing products and opened in 1999.
The firm received £116,000 from the Welsh government’s Economic Resilience Fund (ERF) in December 2020 to help safeguard jobs against the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
At the time, Amanda Howse, senior human resources manager at Toyoda Gosei UK Ltd, said: “The funding Toyoda Gosei Wales received as part of the Economic Resilience Fund allowed us to protect our workforce through the coronavirus pandemic.
“It gave us the flexibility to continue our supply to customers whilst coping with volume fluctuations and peaks and troughs in demand.”
The Welsh government spokesperson said that any money from the ERF grant not used for the purpose stated, or in line with the terms and conditions, may need to be repaid in full or in part.
Latest HR job opportunities on Personnel Today