With its European production plant in Swindon, a new book by award-winning journalist Jeffrey Rothfeder reveals the unorthodox – and extraordinary – keys to Honda’s consistent, global excellence.
Since its birth in 1949, Honda has grown into the world’s top engine manufacturer, and has become one of the world’s leading manufacturer of cars and motorcycles, consistently winning awards of reliability and making an impact on the race track. The company has had a profit every year. And it has doubled its stock since 2008.
So what drives the company that continually creates, and improves, bestselling and award-winning models like the Civic, Accord and Pilot?
According to Rothfeder, what truly distinguishes Honda from its competitors, especially archrival Toyota, is a deep commitment to a set of unorthodox management tenets, where decentralisation, simplicity and unyielding experimentation reign supreme.
Through dozens of interviews with executives, engineers, and frontline employees, Rothfeder shows how the company has developed and maintained its unmatched culture of innovation, resilience, and flexibility, and how a unique strategy has successfully exported that to every plant across the globe.
‘A must-read for anyone interested in the future of manufacturing’ – Subir Chowdhury, author of ‘The Power of LEO’ and ‘The Power of Six Sigma’
‘A fascinating look at one of the world’s great iconoclastic corporations, proving that no organization is too large or established to stop thinking like a lean, flexible start-up’ – Keith Ferrazzi, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller ‘Who’s Got Your Back’ and ‘Never Eat Alone’
Jeffrey Rothfeder, right is a veteran award-winning journalist and former editor-in-chief at International Business Times. He has written numerous critically acclaimed books, including McIlhenny’s Gold, Every Drop for Sale, and Privacy for Sale. He was previously national news editor at Bloomberg News, editor-in chief at PC Magazine, executive editor at Time Inc., and an editor at Businessweek. He lives in Cortlandt Manor, New York.
Driving Honda is published by Portfolio Penguin
at £25 at Waterstones and W H Smith in Swindon and online from Amazon or the Waterstones
35 years in Swindon, from Wikipedia
Honda’s decision to invest in production facilities in Swindon came as a result of Honda’s collaboration with Rover Group, which started in 1979. Honda of the UK Manufacturing Ltd generally known as HUM was established in 1985 and production at the engine plant began in 1989.
In 1992 production of the Honda Accord began in Swindon, and a second engine line was installed. In 1994 production of the Honda Civic began in Swindon. In August 2000 it was revealed that UK-manufactured Honda cars would be exported to Japan for the first time.
Launching a new era of car production in Swindon when the first Honda Civic rolled off the production line at the South Marston factory in December 2011. Image: Calyx Photo Agency