Honda in £267m UK expansion


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The Independent Online

Japanese car giant Honda has announced a £267 million investment programme at its Swindon plant, where hundreds of new jobs have been created to boost production.

The firm said it was the biggest single investment at the site in over a decade, supporting the introduction of a new Civic, a new CR-V model and a new 1.6 litre diesel engine.

Around 500 new workers have been recruited this year as part of the expansion plans, taking the total workforce to 3,500.

Business Secretary Vince Cable, who is visiting the plant on Thursday, said: "This multi-million pound investment by Honda in its 20th year of car production in the UK is great news for Swindon and the automotive sector. Having created a host of new jobs, the investment supports Government's ambition to encourage new investment and exports as a route to renewed growth and a more balanced economy."

Production at the plant is forecast to double by the end of the year to 183,000 cars compared with 2011, rising to 250,000 within the next three years.

The Swindon factory builds cars and engines for more than 60 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Australia, with 60% of production going for export.

Dave Hodgetts, managing director of Honda UK, said: "This investment programme underpins Honda's commitment to manufacturing in Britain and to our UK workforce. It reaffirms the Swindon plant's position as the cornerstone of Honda's European operations, as it has been for the past 25 years."

Honda has invested more than £1.5 billion in the 370-acre Swindon site.

Katja Hall, the CBI's chief policy director, said: "Honda's announcement once again highlights the strength of the automotive sector, even in challenging times. This major investment demonstrates the competitiveness of UK manufacturing, and will also bring significant benefits to the wider supply chain.

"The fact that car production grew for the 13th consecutive month in July shows the UK is a leading location for motor manufacturers."