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Honda to plough £267m into town plant
The cash injection will support the roll out of the new Civic and CR-V, with 500 staff already recruited and trained to deliver the models.
The Japanese car giant, which employs a total of 3,500 people at the plant in South Marston , is also introducing a 1.6 litre diesel engine for the Civic. Business secretary Vince Cable will visit the 370-acre site today at the launch of the European version of the CR-V. He is scheduled to take part in a tour of the works and watch the first cars come off the line.
Prime Minister David Cameron owns an earlier model of the CR-V, which he has called a “beautiful machine”.
He has also credited Honda with contributing to a “real renaissance” in the UK automotive industry.
Production at the plant is forecast to be double last year’s figure, by up to 183,000 units by the end of the year. Honda aims to increase that figure to 250,000 units per year before 2015.
By the end of November 500 CR-Vs will be produced by the factory daily.
The new Civic rolled off the line in December.
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.”
The announcement is good news for the UK balance of trade with 60 per cent of the production going to export. The plant produces cars and engines for over 60 countries around the world, including Europe, Middle East, Africa and Australia.
Honda has invested more than £1.5bn in its Swindon manufacturing operation to date and also produces the Jazz in the town. The plant was hit by supply difficulties due to the flooding in Thailand last year, which led to hours being reduced in the run-up to Christmas.
Some employees will also work fewer days over the next few months due to a system used by Honda which forecasts production against demand. But associates work on a balance of hours which is topped up when demand is strong, ensuring they are paid in full for each week.
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