Responding to increased demand for its new hatchback model, Honda decided to expand its workforce at the plant in Marston, near Swindon to 3,500. Production at the Wiltshire plant is forecast to double to 180,000 this year.
Increasing production in the UK is a strategy that will reduce exposure to unfavourable exchange rates between the pound and the Japanese yen.
The investment follows a trend – Jaguar Land Rover created 1,000 jobs in the UK earlier this year, and Indian steel producer Tata announced that it will invest £800m in its steel smelting plants located in Wales over the next five years.
After the Japanese earthquake and resultant Tsunami devastated automotive companies in a wide ranging area across the country, global supply chains were severely affected, leading to procurement problems in automotive companies across the world. The investment signals a recovery and faith in the UK automotive sector.
Honda Motor Europe president Manabu Nishimae said Honda remained totally committed to building cars and engines in Europe in late 2011, and pointed out that Swindon is at the heart of its European manufacturing activities.
Honda director Andy Piatek said: “I am delighted to welcome our new associates. We are proud of the skills of our workforce and the quality and reliability of the products we build.”
The automotive industry is central to the economy of Wales, with 150 companies employing over 20,000 people. These companies include the automotive behemoth Ford of Britain and Honda among others.