Swindon will make Hondas for export to Japan

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The Independent Online

Honda is planning to import its flagship Civic car from its Swindon-based plant into its domestic Japanese market.

Honda is planning to import its flagship Civic car from its Swindon-based plant into its domestic Japanese market.

Yesterday it confirmed a report in a Japanese paper of a big increase in Civic production at Swindon. It said it would raise output from 100,000 a year to 250,000 in two years. Honda declined to say if the proposed rise in output would create more jobs for Swindon. It has already said it is creating 900 jobs at the plant this year, bringing the workforce to 4,000.

It is understood that next month Honda will announce that Swindon Civics will be sold in Japan as it takes the wraps off the next-generation Civic. Honda already exports from its volume production facilities in the US.

Yesterday Honda said it would transfer its entire production of the three-door Civic to Swindon next year when it completes production of a second plant there. The new plant is expected to go into production in September 2001. Previously, Civic production in Swindon has been restricted to the five-door model. Honda's stationwagon models and the Accord are also made in Swindon. In Japan, Honda will restrict production of the Civic to niche models, it said. The group has six plants in Japan producing 800,000 cars annually.

Honda said the decision was unrelated to Britain's exclusion from the euro. "It has absolutely nothing to do with us being in or out of the euro ... We have the opportunity to switch production flexibly to produce the best results," a spokesman said. "Some of the reason is to do with the relative of strength and weakness of different currencies, in particular the yen."

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