With a forecast of low sales growth in Europe expected to remain in place for the next few years, Honda has decided to scale back production at its plant in Swindon, England.
As much of America redevelops in the direction of increased urbanization and strip-mall suburbia, small downtowns have either dried up or re-purposed themselves as purveyors of quaint fashion and entertainment. Such is the case with Opelika, the sister town to Auburn. Boutiques, restaurants, and antiques places have mostly replaced the hardware stores and other obsolete staples of small-town commerce. I come from a family of enthusiastic collectors of rare junk, but even I can see the occasionally sad irony of a town selling pieces of itself just to get by. A few weeks ago, however, I spotted a prominently displayed chunk of the past that defied my expectations. Instead of distressed Americana on sale, one shop had a very English relic I didn’t expect to see in this part of the country. I returned later to take a closer look.
With Nissan bringing Leaf production to Japan and the United States, the next stop on their localization train is Europe. The Sunderland, UK plant will begin in the spring, and along with European production will be a series of tweaks for that market.
If you read British buff books like EVO, it would be easy to think that the hot versions of the Subaru Impreza are fixtures of the UK’s motoring landscape. Not only are they beloved by enthusiasts, but the WRX is even employed as a police car in certain municipalities. But starting in 2013, British car buyers won’t be able to purchase one of the small Scoobies.
Morgan’s wood-framed sports cars are facing an existential threat; a species of fungus that infects ash trees, which are the source of wood used on Morgan’s legendary sports cars.
Ford last closed a plant in Europe a decade ago, when its Dagenham assembly plant was shuttered, but the Blue Oval may be forced to do it again.
Dacia showed off their Lodgy MPV today, giving more fodder for Dacia fans who became aware of the brand via their slavish devotion to Top Gear. The Lodgy is a small minivan available in 5 or 7 seat configuration and sold under a Romanian auto brand certain to go on sale in the rest of Europe, but maybe not in the UK.