Honda will shutter its British production by 2021.
Last week, Honda announced it will shutter its production plant in Swindon, England by 2021. With the plant inevitably shutting down, some raised questions as to the fate of the Civic hatchback, as the company builds the model in the U.K. to export to global markets, including the U.S. Now, Honda released a statement laying out its intention to move production to U.S. and Canadian plants. Honda’s Swindon plant opened in 1989.
Automotive News reports that Honda is shuttering two plants, including Swindon, in a push to lift factory utilization rates — not because of Brexit. According to the report, Honda’s CEO Takahiro Hachigo said the decision had nothing to do with trade concerns surrounding the U.K.’s departure from the European Union, set to happen this year. Instead, he insisted the wind-down of production was linked to the life-cycle of the current-generation Civic. When this model reaches the end of its life, Honda will build the next model in the U.S.
At this point, Honda hasn’t said where in the U.S. the next-generation Civic would be produced. However, now we have a fairly good idea of when it will arrive — sometime after the Swindon plant closes in 2021. Honda currently builds the Civic sedan at its Greensburg, Indiana plant as well as in Alliston, Ontario, Canada. Last year, Honda built 1.84 cars in North America, including 281,126 Civics, according to Automotive News.
Moving toward electrification
Over the next few years, Honda will consolidate more production around its Japanese plants. That’s particularly the case as the company ramps up its plan to produce electric vehicles. By 2030, Honda aims to build electric vehicles as two-thirds of its overall sales. Hachigo said of the most recent news, “We have decided to carry out this production realignment in Europe in light of our efforts to optimize production allocation and production capacity globally, as well as accelerating electrification.”