Honda UK Manufacturing
(Private limited company)
|David Hodgetts, Managing Director, Honda UK |
Jason Smith, Director, Honda UK Manufacturing
|Owner||Honda Motor Company|
Number of employees
|Parent||Honda Motor Co., Ltd|
Honda of the UK Manufacturing Ltd. (informally HUM) is a United Kingdom-based manufacturing subsidiary of the multinational automotive company Honda. HUM operates manufacturing plants at a site in Swindon, England, which include casting, engine assembly, pressing, welding, painting, and car assembly activities. HUM employs around 3,400 people at the plants, which occupy a site covering around 370 acres.
Honda has made a total investment of over £1.5 billion in the Swindon plants. In 2008, the Swindon site produced 230,423 cars. By 2016 annual unit production was down to 134,146 units, although this still represented an increase of 12.3% over the figure for 2015.
Honda in the United Kingdom
Having gained ground in the United Kingdom with its popular range of motorcycles during the 1960s, Honda first imported cars to the United Kingdom in 1972, when the original Civic was launched, going on sale at a time when Japanese built cars (particularly Nissan's range of Datsun badged models) were enjoying a surge in sales. The larger Accord joined the range in 1976, followed by the Prelude coupe in 1979.
In 1980, Honda entered a venture with British Leyland in order to build Honda based designs in BL factories. The first product of this venture was the 1981 Triumph Acclaim, which was produced for three years until it was replaced by the Rover 200 Series; both cars were based on the Honda Ballade.
In the meantime, the two companies worked together on "Project XX", first announced in 1980 as a new medium-sized luxury saloon due for a mid 1980s launch. This evolved into the Rover 800 Series, launched in 1986, and based on the Japanese built Honda Legend.
Around the same time, Honda agreed for BL/Austin Rover to build versions for the United Kingdom of its Ballade saloon alongside the Rover 200 Series at Longbridge. The Ballade's successor, the Concerto, was also built at Longbridge, and was based on the second generation Rover 200 Series.
In 1985, Honda acquired the South Marston site on the northeastern outskirts of Swindon. The site had been used during the Second World War for aircraft production by Phillips & Powis and Short Brothers, and later by Vickers-Armstrongs-Supermarine; its selection in 1938 took into account the presence of the skilled workforce at the Swindon Works of the Great Western Railway.
HUM was established in 1985, and production at the engine plant began in 1989. In 1992, production of the Honda Accord (which had the same design as the Rover 600 Series but different engines) began in Swindon, and a second engine line was installed. In 1994, production of the Honda Civic began in Swindon; in the same year, the Rover Honda venture ended due to Rover's takeover by BMW. Despite this, the 1995 Rover 400 Series was based on the new Honda Civic.
In August 2000, it was revealed that United Kingdom manufactured Honda cars would be exported to Japan for the first time. In the same year, the plant also began production of the CR-V SUV, which had been on sale since 1997 in the United Kingdom. In September 2001, HUM opened a second car assembly plant in Swindon, creating an additional two hundred jobs at the site. In December 2001, workers at the Swindon plants voted to form a union, and be represented by the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union.
In 2002, production of the Honda Accord ended at Swindon, with the new models being imported from Japan. In October 2002, Ken Keir, managing director of HUM, stated that Honda would maintain vehicle production in the United Kingdom. This was irrespective of whether or not it joined the Eurozone.
In September 2006, it was announced that Honda would be recruiting an additional seven hundred workers for the Swindon plants, and raising production of vehicles at the site by 32% to 250,000. In February 2008, it was announced that Honda would be making an £80 million investment in new production facilities at the Swindon site, for the manufacture of plastic car parts and metal castings for engines.
On 30 January 2009, due to the recession, which had caused a fall in sales, it was announced that direct workers at the Swindon site would be laid off for four months until 1 June, with full pay for the first two months of the period and about half-pay for the remainder. If the employee was in the indirect staff or maintenance categories they, instead, would lose approximately £1,500 and be forced to remain at work.
In October 2009, HUM began production of the Honda Jazz, which until then had been imported from Japan. Production of the Jazz at Swindon was halted in 2014, and once again it was imported from Japan only. In September 2012, Honda announced a £267 million investment programme at the Swindon site. This was to support the introduction of new models of the Civic and CR-V, and a new 1.6 litre diesel engine. The investment would take total investment at the site to around £1.5 billion, and would increase the workforce to 3,500.
In February 2019 Honda announced that its Swindon plant will close in 2021. Closure will result in the loss of about 3,500 jobs in the area. The plant was already projected to close for six days in April as part of its Brexit preparations.
Cars manufactured at Honda Manufacturing UK
- Honda Civic (1994–present)
Formerly manufactured at Honda Manufacturing UK
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