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Monday, 10 April, 2000, 00:45 GMT 01:45 UK
Honda boost to UK car industry
Swindon factory
Honda's Swindon factory: Being upgraded
The UK car industry has received a much-needed boost with Japanese car firm Honda unveiling plans to build a new model at its Wiltshire car plant.

Production of the four-wheel drive CR-V - currently built in Japan - will start at Swindon in eight weeks time, following exceptional demand for the car throughout Europe, said Honda.

This manufacturing facility confirms our long term commitment to making top quality cars in Britain

Honda's Minoru Harada
Earlier this month Honda announced a short-term cut back in production at Swindon - mainly because the plant is undergoing a 120m modernisation programme.

The latest news comes amid continuing anger over job losses from the break-up of Rover and tough times for the manufacturing industry.

About 20,000 of the new models are expected to be built in the next year at Swindon, which currently produces the Accord and Civic.

Honda said the news reaffirmed its long-term commitment to the UK. The new model will be the fifth built at the plant.

Jobs boost

Honda opened its factory at Swindon in 1992 and is currently recruiting to boost the number of workers from the current 3,000 to about 4,000 by 2002.

A new manufacturing system is being installed and Honda said when it is completed a wide range of models will be produced at very short notice.

The company said it was also working closely with its suppliers to improve productivity.

Minoru Harada, chief executive of Honda's European operations said: "We are delighted that we will be building the CR-V at Swindon to meet European customer demands.

"This manufacturing facility demonstrates the flexibility and agility that characterises Honda's success and confirms our long term commitment to making top quality cars in Britain."

In 1999, Honda sold 65,000 cars in the UK and almost 210,000 across western Europe.

The company aims to see European sales grow from 250,000 this year to 300,000 in 2001.

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See also:

31 Mar 00 | Business
Honda slashes UK production
09 Apr 00 | UK Politics
Millions to retrain Rover workers
15 Mar 00 | Business
The Rover breakdown
16 Jul 99 | The Economy
UK unemployment: the North-South divide
05 Dec 99 | Business
Cars: still motoring
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