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Banging The Drum For Honda & Swindon

The 10th generation of the extremely attractive new Honda Civic has been unveiled at the company’s UK manufacturing base in beautiful down-town Swindon, Gateway To The West; and by west I mean as far as the United States. Production of the car is already underway and the first units already are landing in North America.

Why they should get it first I don’t know but we shouldn’t complain because Honda have announced some post-Brexit faith in the UK by making Britain its global hub, thus allowing exports to quadruple outside of the lumbering EU. See the article here.

So Honda of the UK Manufacturing (HUM) is now the global production hub for the new Civic hatchback, with the model set to be exported to more than seventy countries around the world, including European markets, North America and Canada.

The Swindon plant is Honda’s flagship production facility in Europe, employing 3,600 people, and it plays a key role in Honda’s global manufacturing network. The company has invested a further £200m into the factory in preparation for production of the new Civic, bringing Honda’s total investment in HUM to more than £2.2 billion since 1989.

Katsushi Inoue, President and Chief Operating Officer of Honda Motor Europe said: “As we reveal this new Civic, we look forward with confidence as we expand the role of our Swindon manufacturing plant. Honda has made significant investments in this facility and this next step is an important endorsement of the skills and expertise of our workforce. We’re also setting out a clear and sustainable future role for HUM, broadening our export markets beyond Europe.”

Commenting on the news, Industry and Climate Change Minister Nick Hurd said: “The Honda plant in Swindon has gone from strength to strength since production began in the 1980s (not strictly true Nick but we’ll gloss over the bad times), and today’s news is a real vote of confidence in the local economy. The new model is testament to British engineering and manufacturing expertise and is another success story for our world-class automotive sector.”

You’ve got to love a bit of official government hyperbole, haven’t you? It is great news for Swindon certainly but the streets are not yet paved with gold. Some aren’t even paved with tarmac, seemingly to be made of rubble. Swindon Borough Council are too busy producing mailshots to tell us how, thanks to parishing, we can play for services twice. Anyway, back to Honda…

The launch of the 10th generation Civic builds upon Honda’s strong recent sales performance in Europe. Honda is Europe’s fastest growing mainstream brand in 2016 with sales growing by 33%, compared to 2015, as the brand progresses towards its next sales ambition of 200,000 sales in Europe.The really good news is that this week, even as this is published and quite coincidentally, I will be road-testing the Honda CR-V SUV. Review follows in due course. Geoff Maxted