Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Honda to export Civic to Japan

Honda will invest over £200 million in new, advanced production technologies and processes to build the next generation Civic at Swindon, UK.

This new contribution brings Honda's total investment in HUM to over £2.2billion since 1985.

Honda's flagship production facility in Europe, Honda of the UK Manufacturing (HUM) will become a global production hub for the next generation Civic five door model, as Honda continues to develop its global production network to maximise the efficiency and quality of its manufacturing operations.

This new investment brings Honda's total investment in HUM to over £2.2billion since 1985.

The Civic five-door will be produced for the European market as well as for export to key global markets, including Japan.

Further, by developing the European facility into a global manufacturing hub for this model, HUM will increase Civic volumes whilst developing improved economies of scale.

The skills, knowledge and experience accrued by Honda associates since Civic production began at Swindon over 20 years ago, will play an important role as HUM specialises in the production of the Civic model.

The new manufacturing facilities and processes will be the responsibility of Honda Engineering.

"By establishing HUM as a global production facility for the Civic five door, Honda is demonstrating its long-term commitment to manufacturing in the UK and Europe”, said Jason Smith, director of HUM.

“This is incredibly important for HUM and is a reward for the commitment and effort put in by Honda Associates in recent years," added Smith. "As a global production facility for the Civic five door model we look forward to making the most of the opportunity to export this model not only to our European customers, but also, to key global markets."

As HUM develops into a specialist Civic production facility, the next generation CR-V will be manufactured at Honda of Canada Manufacturing (HCM), in Ontario and CR-V will be imported to Europe.

Up to now, CR-V has proved to be one of the company’s slower-selling models and the introduction of the five-door Civic will help to lift output and increase plant utilisation. There will be no additional job opportunities alongside the new investment.

"This announcement sends a clear message to our associates and suppliers of the strategic importance that Honda Motor Company places on producing cars at our plant in Swindon, UK" spelled out Toshiaki Mikoshiba, chief operating officer and president of Honda Motor Europe.  "We will continue to provide high quality products to meet the expectations of our European customers and having just unveiled four new models for the European market, we look forward with renewed optimism and purpose for Honda in Europe."

The next generation Civic will be unveiled at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show in March before the vehicle enters production later in the year.

Meanwhile, production of the Honda Jazz supermini will cease within a few weeks and with that of the CR-V off-roader ending next year, paving the way for Swindon to become a single-model facility.

Honda has fallen behind its Japanese rival in terms of plant utilisation Plant capacity is described as 250,000 units. The last time the plant produced anything like this figures was in 2008 when the plant built 230,423 units or 92 per cent of capacity.

In 2009 the figure fell to 75,583, before almost doubling to the 2010 figure of 139,264 units. The following year output fell to 97,459 before picking up again in 2012 with 165,607 units built. Output fell to 140,094 in 2013 before falling further in 2014 to 119,995.

So, in some respects, HUM has been something of a disappointment at the Japanese car maker’s headquarters. Nevertheless, HUM is seen as Honda's flagship production facility in Europe and is also a key constituent of Honda's global manufacturing system which spans six regions globally.

The plant started making engines in 1989, with No. 1 car line beginning production in 1992 followed by No. 2 car line in 2001.

Current models include Civic five-door, the Civic Tourer and the CR-V. Production of Civic Type R is due to start in mid-2015).

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