By on February 18, 2019

Honda builds Civics in a number of locales, but Americans know of Honda’s Swindon, UK assembly plant mainly because of the Civic Type R. After years spent shunning the North American market, the automaker finally sent ships loaded with hi-po front-drivers across the Atlantic for the 2017 model year.

Swindon handles production of all Civic hatch models, leaving plants in the U.S. and Canada to handle sedan and coupe builds. It seems all those hatches, hot and less so, will need to find a new home after 2021.

According to news reports out of the UK, Honda appears ready to announce Swindon’s closure on Tuesday. The BBC, citing sources, reports that 3,500 workers could be out of work — and the country’s status as a major car producer further marginalized — when the plant closes in 2022.

Though its only UK plant will close, the automaker plans to retain its European headquarters in Bracknell, Berkshire, sources claim.

After speaking with Honda, Conservative MP Justin Tomlinson (the member of North Swindon) stated in a tweet that the company is consulting with staff, adding, “there is not expected to be any job losses, or changes in production until 2021.”

While Brexit, as well as the looming possibility of new tariffs, is top of mind for many onlookers as the reason for Honda’s consolidation of Euro-market Civic production in Japan, other factors exist for the move.

Two years ago, Honda announced plans to return Civic production to Japan after a multi-year absence. With the North American market soaking up more crossovers and fewer passenger cars, bringing Civic production to Japan would free up plant space for more profitable (and popular) vehicles in that region. At the time, Kimiyoshi Teratani, head of Honda’s Japanese operations, was tight-lipped about the possibility of U.S.-bound Japanese Civics. It makes sense for the European market, though, and not just because of the possibility of a no-deal Brexit or new U.S. tariffs.

As Autocar reports, the European Union recently moved to scrap tariffs on Japanese-built cars, reducing the appeal of local production.

What will become of the Civic hatch and Type R? Honda could resume production in Japan — the Type R’s 306-horsepower engine originates in an Ohio factory, so its availability isn’t in danger. Alternatively, as one Bozi Tatarevic suggests, the company could swap the Type R badge to a North American-made sedan.

[Image: Honda]

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25 Comments on “Report: Honda Set to Shutter UK Plant, Home of the Civic Type R...”


  • avatar
    mike978

    They needed to increase production since many Honda dealers in the US still sell the Type R for thousands above MSRP 18 months after release.

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      Those buyers should head to their nearest VW dealer and find out what Golf R is all about.

      And then realize that the Golf is an adult-looking car that’s invisible to the po-po to boot.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        What kind of adult wants to drive an econobox? The Type R looked sillier than a Golf. In every other sense, it was far superior. Neither is going to impress anyone that doesn’t play video games. Choose accordingly. I chose neither.

  • avatar
    jatz

    Good, because something bad and dorky happens to nice Civics in that plant.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    I think it should be made in Japan. For those that would pony up that kind of cash for an R, it matters.

  • avatar
    Add Lightness

    I’m still waiting for a Swindon Civic to showup at the All British Field Meet.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    Honda has been having trouble moving vehicles in the European markets for years. Those darn people just don’t realize what a bargain a high-priced plasticky interior state-of-the-art vehicle Honda provides. Then there’s the Civic hatchback’s styling. Oh yeah. Funky.

    Production has been yo-yoing up and down for years, and is running about 50% capacity now. So if dealers are still gouging customers on the Type R in the US, it’s a dealer scam. Swindon could turn out a lot more of the world’s widest body shutline BatFink vehicle if necessary. Maybe the Ohio factory that makes the Type R engine and ships it to the UK is volume-limited, if I were to assume a charitable state of mind. But why should I? Mazda outsells these jokers in Europe, 231,000 to 136,000 in 2018. And Hyundai/Kia are off the charts compared to either.

    Honda has put zero effort into producing vehicles suited to the European market. People there must learn to appreciate standard Honda value. Kind of like the Acura beak, once present day Honda sets a course it sticks with it through thick and thin, criticism and falling sales and now to rack and ruin in Europe.

    Soichiro would have had asses handed to him on a platter 15 years ago when this Euro rot first set in. Let’s face it, the situation would never have arisen in the first place under him. But the gray men run things now, and that 1.5t oil-diluted-by-gas engine being sold in many models isn’t actually happening, you know. No. A software fix has solved all problems, they claim. For all those of you who own a 1.5t in a Civic, Accord or CRV and have some mechanical sense, imagine being a crankshaft bearing running in 0-20 weight oil diluted with gas for extra thinness. A new mechanical experiment on hydrodyamic plain bearing longevity is under way at someone’s expense. Guess who.

    • 0 avatar
      Carrera

      That’s very true. Honda has never really caught on in Europe to the magnitude of Hyundai or Kia. Their cars are at a different price point as well. I remember a few years back I was pricing a loaded CRV which in USA was $26,000 at that time but there it was E 40,000. It was dangerously close to BMW X3 price. That turned off a lot of Europeans.

    • 0 avatar
      Add Lightness

      Part of Honda’s problem years ago was that they didn’t have THEIR OWN diesel which was needed in Europe to move lots of cars. Now they have one just in time for diesels to loose favour.

    • 0 avatar
      Add Lightness

      Part of Honda’s problem years ago was that they didn’t have THEIR OWN diesel which was needed in Europe to move lots of cars. Now they have one just in time for diesels to loose favour.

    • 0 avatar
      Add Lightness

      Part of Honda’s problem years ago was that they didn’t have their own diesel. Now they have one just in time for diesels to loose favour.

  • avatar
    Carrera

    In early 2000s they had a great 2.0 diesel on the CRV and the Accord ( our old TSX here in USA). That engine was getting 60 mpg in the Accord at that time. That was US mpg not Imperial. Very good engine. Before that? I am not so sure. I was under the impression that the 2.0 was their engine.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    Honda stopped being Honda when they started chasing EPA fuel economy ratings with the same garbage technologies that all the other lousy automakers use.

  • avatar
    EquipmentJunkie

    Back in 1990, I studied international business in Europe. I was in a total of 9 countries. Each country was quite nationalistic when it came to vehicles. Generally speaking, Germans drove German brands. The French drove French brands. UK drivers drove a lot of Fords and Vauxhalls, both brands having a long history in the UK.

    I returned to France, Germany and the UK about 20 years later. The effects of the EU Common Market was quite evident. Nationalism of auto brands all but disappeared. Hyundai and Kia were there in full force…but Japanese brands on the roads were notably scarce. I asked a family friend from France about my observation. The loose translation was that Japanese brands appealed to cheapskates. This Swindon plant seemed to help UK Honda sales in years past, but the handwriting has been on the wall for a while.

    • 0 avatar
      SoCalMikester

      i kinda got that vibe from watching older top gear episodes. hondas and toyotas are OAP vehicles. it wasnt until relatively recently that kias and hyundais were seen as vehicles for people that couldnt afford a toyota or honda, and didnt like nissan. OAP is an old age pensioner

      • 0 avatar
        Carrera

        I have family in DK and throughout the last 30 years they’ve owned many European non luxury cars such as Citroen, Renault, VW, and Opel. About 10-12 years ago after visiting us in USA and seeing Hondas and Toyotas everywhere, they’ve decided to try Toyota. They never went back to buying European. They’ve started with a Corolla ( station wagon of course) all the way to their current RAV4 Hybrid. They’ve always paid a pretty penny but they said it was always worth it .
        The Europeans learned too, yes a bit late, that Japanese cars are ultra reliable when compared to their European counterparts but then, Kia and Hyundai is just as reliable for much less. That’s the current problem the Japanese are facing.

    • 0 avatar
      Carrera

      Hmm…weird because compared to their European or Korean counterparts they are usually more expensive. So I am not sure what kind of cheapskates…A Toyota Avensis is deep into Passat Territory or more. A Lexus RX is well past 50,000 Euros. The Europeans learned too, yes a bit late, that Japanese cars are ultra reliable when compared to their European counterparts but then, Kia and Hyundai is just as reliable for much less.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Interesting enough, H/K in Europe do best in Germany and other Germanic countries such as Austria and Switzerland (putting aside the Italian region), including England and France.

      Toyota does the best out of the Japanese brands due to having the biggest hybrid lineup and Nissan is saved from Honda’s fate due to the Qashqai.

  • avatar

    May be it is MJGA syndrome – bring jobs back to Japan? On serious note AFAIK Hondas are too expensive and too boring to worth the price they asking in Europe. In Europe you do not depend on car for living so reliability is not much an issue and German cars are pretty reliable for European type of usage.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Cheaper to build in Japan w/ the auto-makers using an increasing # of seasonal/contract workers.

    • 0 avatar
      theBrandler

      As far as I can tell, the same is true in America. The new Civic Si is a big yawn – and while everyone in the car media raves about the Civic Type R, I don’t know a single person who actually wants one because A) you look like a caricature of a anime ricer driving one, and B) they are too damn expensive for a FWD hot hatch. That same money, or close enough to not make a difference to those who can afford it, can get you into Mustang GTs, Camaro SSs, and a plethora of RWD and AWD performance sedans. And none of them make you look like a teenager with rich parents.


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