New investment for Honda and JLR as car exports boom

Posted on 6 Sep 2012 by Tim Brown

Japanese car maker Honda Motor Co announced today that it is investing £267m in building new models and engines at its Swindon plant in Britain.

After three years of losses in Europe, Honda is hoping to rebuild its ailing European business and predicts it will return to profitability by 2013/2014, when 80% of cars sold in the market will be sourced from the Swindon plant.

Honda plans to produce 183,000 vehicles at the Swindon factory in 2012, twice that produced in 2011, and reach a full capacity of 250,000 vehicles annually in 2015, it said in a statement.

Honda, which produces the CR-V SUV, the Civic and the Jazz as well as engines at the Swindon plant has already begun to invest part of the £267 new production equipment including presses and robotics.

For the first time in 36 years,  Britain is now exporting more cars than it imports and securing increased production from foreign-owned carmakers based in Britain has been highlighted as a great boost for UK manufacturing.

About 60% of production from the Swindon plant is expected to be exported, Honda said.

Toyota, Nissan, and Indian-owned Jaguar Land Rover have all committed to increase production in Britain. Jaguar Land Rover says it will invest £370m to upgrade its UK manufacturing facilities as it prepares to launch the new Range Rover in 170 countries.

“Through a £370m investment in our manufacturing facilities we have been able to build the world’s first SUV with lightweight all-aluminium construction, a car that is 20% lighter, with fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions reduced by 22%.”