Is Honda’s UK plant closure the beginning of a Japanese Brexit?

Honda’s decision to shut its UK assembly and engine plant after more than 30 years of production poses the question: are other Japanese automakers manufacturing in the country planning to stage their own Brexit?

Honda, Toyota and Nissan were persuaded to build plants in the UK in the 1980s after then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher realized that struggling British automakers were not going to be able to sustain a viable automotive industry on their own.

Thatcher pitched the UK as the ideal location from which Japanese automakers could build cars and export to the European Economic Community, the precursor to today’s EU. Thatcher even told Nissan there was no chance that the UK would leave because we would be too dependent on the single market for exports. After the UK quits the EU on March 29, that will no longer be true.