By on February 25, 2019

Truth be told, North American Honda plants do build the lion’s share of Civics sold in the region. However, last week’s announcement of the impending closure of the automaker’s sole UK facility means a 100-percent locally sourced crop of compacts in the future.

Honda insists the decision to close its Swindon assembly plant in 2021 stems from a cost-conscious production overhaul. While the plant supplied Europe and North America with Civic hatchbacks, declining sales in Europe and a new trade pact between Japan and the EU means importing cars into the region makes more economic sense.

It also means the United States and Canada need to find a new source of Civic hatches and Type Rs come the end of 2021. Head office has a solution.

Speaking to media in Japan, Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo said, “Given our efforts to optimize production allocation and production capacity on a global scale, we have concluded that we will produce the Civic for North America in North America.” Automotive News reports.

The announcement, which is in line with Honda’s push to eliminate excess capacity, seems to confirm that Civic hatch production will come to either Ontario or Indiana. Hachigo made no mention of production levels or specific bodystyles, however; Swindon’s closure coincides with the end of the current-generation Civic’s production cycle, and who knows what Honda has in store for the next generation.

Last year, North American Honda plants built 281,126 Civics, while the take rate for hatch models was just under a third of total sales, AN data shows. Civic sales slipped 13.7 percent in the U.S. in 2018, with 325,760 units sold. In Canada, where the Civic topped the best-selling car list for the 21st year running, demand was stable. Only 25 fewer Civics found buyers in 2018 compared to the previous year.

Swindon isn’t alone in its future mothballed status. Honda also plants to close two plants in Turkey and Japan .

[Image: Honda]

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30 Comments on “Honda to North America: Build Your Own Civics...”


  • avatar
    jatz

    Wherever you build ’em, just don’t build no more of them acid green ones.

  • avatar

    I’d love to see a US one and a Swindon one side by side, and poke around them a bit. Same goes for when they are both five years old or so and have some wear on them.

    • 0 avatar
      jatz

      As someone who buys and compares multiple performances of the same classical music piece, I understand this.

      Building a car and performing a symphony are both huge, precisely scripted works of reproduction that can be screwed up in limitless ways.

    • 0 avatar
      Sceptic

      Anecdotal evidence from web forums few years ago when CR-V came from 3 sources: USA, Japan and England.
      England built CR-V’s were less reliable and lower build quality then the USA and Japan units.
      Back in the 80’s when Honda just opened brand new factory in Ohio thorough comparisons were made of the new US built Accords versus Japan built ones. No statistically significant difference in quality or reliability.

      • 0 avatar
        bill h.

        Yeah, I was an engineering grad student at Ohio State back when the new Honda factory in nearby Marysville was getting stood up. People did a lot of poring over the first ones out of the door, and they were remarkably good at a time when US auto plants didn’t always have the best reputation.

        My sister had an early 80s Japanese-made Accord hatchback at the time, and (notwithstanding the rust that came in later years) it was indeed a high benchmark to compare.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Japan-built isn’t what it used to be.

        The Japanese Big-3 are using a lot of contract-workers these days to keep wage costs down.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Corey, I shopped the hatch and sedan a few years back when I bought the Jetta, and I found the hatches didn’t feel quite as well made. Couldn’t figure out why until I noticed they were made in the UK. Bingo.

      Anecdotal, but there you have it.

      • 0 avatar

        Feels like British-made Honda products are not the best, historically. The old Si one from early 00s that fell apart and the Rover cars (though that’s more a BL issue).

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          I never heard of the EP3 hatchbacks “falling apart,” just some synchro issues on the 6spd, and that they were just kind of porky and unexciting to drive (missed the hotter 200hp K20 motor, moved to mac-strut front end and torsion beam rear iirc), poo-poo’d by many hardcore Honda guys.

          • 0 avatar

            I think that was just based on my visual evidence on the Si.

            Seemed like to me they were very tired very quickly. But perhaps that was down to rarity and the ownership profile.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            I think they fell into abusive hands pretty quickly. But I will say, the way the plastic-lens headlights fogged up was particularly noticeable, definitely a poorly spec’d material from the suppler.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            I’ve never seen any problems with the Si hatchbacks. The S-VIN CRVs of the early 2000s don’t seem to respond to neglect as well as J-VINs and 1-VINs, but they are also still seventeen year old daily drivers with hundreds of thousands of miles.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            The headlights on that Civic generation seem particularly prone to discoloration from UV exposure, as well.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      I’m frankly not impressed with the quality of my friend’s ’16 Civic sedan that I’ve spent some time around. Panel gaps inconsistent/large, sloppy and uneven stitching on the seat covers, and he’s had a couple of non-critical but annoying issues crop up at low mileage (wiper linkage failed and something else). I also got to see a current gen Civic lay down a mean smokescreen out the tailpipe last summer, presumably a turbo issue with oil entering the combustion chamber. Not sure if these are Greensburg Indiana cars or what.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Some rare good news for NA autoworkers.

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      Yes, I would now consider a Civic hatchback. US made; money into American workers pockets and not the coffers of some union. Same reason I chose an Accord over the Malibu and Fusion in 2012. It helps that it’s been a damned good vehicle, too.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        So you’d rather see the money roll into a coffer in Tokyo versus into the pockets of American workers who are exercising their legal right to unionize.

        Way to fly the red, white and blue there, bro!

        • 0 avatar
          TEXN3

          They have every right to unionize, but apparently Honda workers don’t feel the need. So, the money spent on appeasing the labor union can go into the vehicle. And the vehicles are still made in the US, unlike what the US automakers prefer to do with their “low-margin” sedans.

          Like I alluded to, I support the money going to American workers. The corporate aspect of where the money goes is irrelevant to me- as long as they pay their fair share of taxes.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Passing on an American made product because the people who made that product joined a union makes zero sense to me. To me, it’s money earned, and put in the pocket of a fellow citizen. To each his own, I guess.

        • 0 avatar
          TEXN3

          I’m definitely waving the red, white, and blue. I am enjoying the ability to choose what product I want to purchase, freely. And I am enjoying the ability to state why I choose that product, freely.

          • 0 avatar
            jatz

            Heh.. Mike just likes to fling guilt around.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Feel free to choose, but if your choices don’t make any earthly sense, be prepared to be called out on it.

          • 0 avatar
            jkross22

            Mike, it would be interesting to know if Accord owners are happier with their purchase than their Fusion or Malibu counterparts.

            Based on resale value alone, Accord owners are comparatively giddy.

          • 0 avatar
            ect

            TEXN3, Honda workers don’t have to unionize because Honda makes sure they get whatever (or very close to) the UAW negotiates for D3 employees. This enables Honda to remind them that they have nothing to gain by joining a union, since the union can’t get them anything they don’t already have.

            So, the UAW is indirectly negotiating for Honda, Toyota, Nissan and other transplant employees, who get the benefit of union wages & benefits without paying for it. Sorta like being freeloaders, ain’t it?

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          I did not know one had to support unions… especially the shamelessly corrupt UAW… to support American workers.

      • 0 avatar
        vehic1

        That is – more $$$ in the pockets of owners, and less for the workers – along with easier layoffs, etc. The right to work for less.

  • avatar
    SoCalMikester

    my 98 cx was built in alliston ontario. nice simple car, put together well


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