Honda is to transfer Accord production from Swindon to Japan to make the UK plant the home of the latest Civic incarnation and the next generation CR-V.
The announcement was made this morning in Tokyo by Honda Motor Corporation president and CEO Hiroyuki Yoshino when he announced that the UK would be the centre of production for vehicles built on Honda's new Global Compact Platform.
The changes at Swindon, he said, were necessary to achieve “higher production efficiency and lower new model investment”.
Swindon is currently running at two-thirds capacity, in part due to low demand in Europe.
The changes will not take place until 2003 when the next generation Accord is launched and when production will be moved to Japan. The new Civic five-door is already made at Swindon with three-door starting in the summer. CR-V production will move from Japan to Swindon early next year coinciding with a model revamp.
Lack of demand in Europe will be countered by a product push in Japan of the three-door Civic in the autumn and North America in a year's time. Next-generation CR-V exports to North America from the UK will start in early 2002.
A Honda spokesman said: “Swindon has been running at under capacity because of model change overs and lack of demand in Europe. But with greater exports outside of Europe we aim to have the existing plant and the new facility opening in the summer running a full capacity of 250,000 units a year by mid-2002.”
Mr Yoshino also announced that Honda is to produce a new “global” small car and three new engines.
The B-segment car will be introduced next month in Japan and in Europe in early 2002, powered by a new 1,339cc dual and sequential ignition petrol engine. Two new diesels have also been announced , a 1.7-litre Isuzu-made diesel which will go into UK-built Civics and a Honda-produced 2.0-litre unit for the next generation European version Accord from 2003.
The changes at Swindon will not affect workforce numbers.