Looking back four years Honda was enjoying a purple patch, building cars in Swindon and employing 4,000 people. Who would have thought that come 2022 the factory would have been shut and all the jobs would have gone.
So say goodbye to the Honda Civic, your home grown car, because the factory has closed down for good.
It’s a great shame because almost four million were built in the town since car production began in 1992.
But if you are looking for a good motor then the Civic is still around and this the 10th generation has long held a reputation for being reliable, dynamic and practical with a great engine to boot. While it is expensive like all Hondas but you know you are getting a good deal and the AA will rarely, if ever, come your way. You will also get a good deal when you go and see your dealer.
The first ever Civic came off the line in Japan in 1972 and building on its 45-year heritage, the new model stays true to the original Civic concept of a car for all people.
Honda invested in £200m in new production technologies and processes to prepare for the new Civic which took their spending over £2bn in Swindon since they first arrived in town since 1985 with not a red cent of Government money.
Now they decided to pull out of Europe closing two car plants and an engine manufacturing facility. Other areas left on the site include a purpose built test track, dynamic and static test cells, as well as administration and purchasing functions.
So Swindon workers who used to build the great railway engines of the past which pulled trains around the world then built great cars have no industrial heritage left to speak of. 2017 was the silver anniversary for Honda building cars in Swindon. Sadly the 30th anniversary will never be reached.
Honda has released the first images of their all-new Civic five-door, the 11th generation of the brand’s hatchback.
Despite being built in Japan the Civic remains a core model for Honda in Europe and the latest generation builds on almost 50 years of heritage, delivering the usability, comfort and visual appeal that the model is renowned for.
The all-new Civic will be offered exclusively as a hybrid, becoming the latest model to feature the brand’s advanced e:HEV (hybrid electric vehicle) powertrain, and meeting the objective for all European mainstream models to feature electrified powertrains by 2022.
Already powering the recently-launched Jazz and Jazz Crosstar, the 2020 CR-V as well as the all-new HR-V on sale later this year, the widely acclaimed hybrid powertrain will offer new Civic owners the perfect blend of fun-to-drive performance and efficiency.
Since its launch the Civic has been well received by customers across the world, selling more than 27 million units across 170 countries. The all-new Civic e:HEV is set to continue this success and will be arriving in Europe from autumn next year.
The last Honda Civic made on-site rolled off the production line last week to much cheering and applause from employees and generous redundancy packages for Honda workers softened the blow of the job losses.
Honda said it was the international car manufacturer which made the decision to leave the UK due to a restructure of its global manufacturing network which is focused on production of electrified cars.
The closure is expected to have a knock-on effect on the supply chain which is around 12,000 people.
North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson said there was cautious optimism for Swindon’s post-Honda future and the 370 acre site has been bought by Panattoni who hope eventually to employ 7,000 people. The company is the biggest real estate developer in Europe
Mr Tomlnson said: “Honda has been a longstanding and excellent employer. We hoped Honda would stay in Swindon but market forces worked against us.
“There’s cautious optimism. Honda gave us a long notice which provided plenty of time for workers to get other options in place, and do additional training.
“Honda used a relatively small proportion of the site. Panattoni anticipate to use all of it.
“Robert Buckland, my fellow MP, and I have spoken to Panattoni and they are already drawing up building specs.”
Pictured: The Honda Type R – one of the last cars to be built in Swindon