|Honda Begins Major North American Exports from U.K.|
|Swindon, April 23, 2002 --- The first shipment of UK-built Honda CR-Vs departed from Southampton this weekend bound for the USA. The export of this brand new sport-utility vehicle (SUV) follows the company's earlier development six months ago to export the new Civic 3-door model to Japan and North America.
This year, 50,000 to 60,000 Honda CR-Vs are planned to be exported from Honda of the UK Manufacturing Ltd. ("HUM")'s Swindon plant to the North American market. The export volume is expected to increase in 2003 and beyond.
The CR-V exports, together with the Civic 3-door, reaffirm HUM's vital role in Honda's Global Supply Network* by joining Japan as one of the two suppliers of CR-Vs to North America. At the same time, the Swindon-built Civic 3-door vehicles --- produced solely in the UK --- are complementing the model line-ups in North America and Japan. This also allows HUM to increase its rate of capacity utilisation.
Minoru Harada, President of Honda Motor Europe, commented on the news:
Last year, HUM was expanded through the addition of a second factory, which added 100,000 units to the original 150,000-unit annual capacity. Production at the Swindon plant in the first three months of the year is already up by 62% compared to the same period in 2001, as the £130m second car plant continues ramping up to full production.
Honda has now invested £ 1.15bn in Swindon, representing 70% of its total European investment. These investments over the years have allowed HUM to gain not only additional volume but also higher speed and flexibility, notably with the implementation of Honda's New Manufacturing System. With this new system, introduced in 2000, HUM now has less model specific tooling and fewer manufacturing processes, enabling it to introduce new models onto its production lines in a shorter amount of time, with minimum investment in new tooling.