Honda warns Britain over reluctance to join euro

Japanese automaker Honda has ruled out further investment in its British plant because of London’s refusal to join the single European currency.

In interviews with British newspapers, Honda president Takeo Fukui described the automaker’s past investment in its plant in Swindon in as “a mistake”.

“We thought the UK was in Europe but its reluctance to join the euro is a big problem,” Fukui told the London-based Financial Times.

“Our intention is to bring operations (at Swindon) to full capacity and have no plans to expand, though we may change our minds if Britain were to join the euro,” he added.

Fukui, who has been critical in the past of Britain’s decision not to adopt the euro, said he hoped to use a newer facility in Turkey — which is also outside of the eurozone but has lower labour costs — to increase the company’s competitiveness in Europe.

“The exchange rate of the pound against the euro is very difficult to forecast,” Fukui was quoted by the London-based Daily Telegraph as saying.

“Unless the UK joins the eurozone, we can’t add to the plant in Swindon,” he said, but added: “We’re not planning to withdraw from the UK because it is a major market, and Swindon supplies it.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070524/wl_uk_afp/japanbritainauto_070524071550;_ylt=A0SOwkF5TlVGJR8AHQXlyREB