But the music’s still sweet for the town according to Ian Henry, director of AutoAnalysis, an independent automotive research and consulting company based in London. He wrote on 5 October in AutomotiveWorld.com
‘The news that the next Honda Jazz (Fit) will not be made in the UK will have disappointed suppliers expecting new contracts for a wider Jazz range and higher production volumes post-2014.
However, any disappointment at the demise of UK Jazz manufacture is more than balanced by Honda’s increased commitment to Civic production, with the Civic Wagon and Type R models joining Swindon’s line-up.
‘Earlier in 2012, Honda took on 500 people to help boost output; recently it announced it was near the end of a £267m investment programme. Nonetheless, Honda announced a production slowdown in September, owing to poor European Civic and Jazz sales. At the same time, however, with the new CR-V starting, Honda said it expected to make over 180,000 units at Swindon in the current financial year.
‘Honda’s decision to concentrate Jazz production in China and Japan mirrors the UK’s increasing focus on higher value – and thereby potentially more profitable – models. The Jazz is currently the only B-segment car made in the UK, a segment in which making profits as a low volume manufacturer in Europe is very difficult.
‘Far from being a negative decision for UK manufacturing, Honda’s decision to concentrate Jazz production in China and Japan is proof of the UK’s centrality to global OEMs’ production strategies, and mirrors the UK’s increasing focus on higher value – and thereby potentially more profitable – models.
‘Notably, the unions are not fazed by the loss of the Jazz, with Unite’s regional organiser, Jim D’Avila, telling local press, "Models come and go…we’ve got no fear of any compulsory reductions."
Kate Saxton, from the Honda UK press office, added: “Swindon is the only plant in the world where the Civic models – the Wagon and the Type R – are being manufactured. This is a simple case of increasing efficiency by concentrating the production of all platforms of the Civic model in one place. It will absolutely be business as usual for Swindon with a slightly different mix of models.”
Read Ian Henry’s full article