Honda UK’s small UK vehicle engineering centre is all set to grow in size and importance following approval from Japanese bosses.
The British car development base supports Honda’s main European development centre in Frankfurt but has been taking on increasing responsibility in recent years.
Success here, said a Honda spokesman, has meant Japanese management feels it can hand over more responsibility to the small Swindon centre. This has already seen it develop from a simple satellite support centre into a genuine centre for development.
“There was no particular date of setup for the centre,” a spokesman explained to us. Rather, it was a matter of Japanese management gradually gaining confidence in the site over the years.
“When management felt confident it could take on these lead roles, it handed over more responsibility.”
BREAKTHROUGH WITH CIVIC TOURER
This also saw the brand’s first ever European new vehicle project leader appointed – himself a Swindon-sourced Brit, Adrian Killham. Europe’s first whole vehicle project was the new Civic Tourer, which MSN Cars has already driven in prototype form. This was engineered in Frankfurt but had significant input from the Swindon team.
Now, Honda is rolling out the Swindon centre’s biggest lead project to date – the 2014 model year Civic, which has benefited from an extensive series of drivability improvements developed by the 50 engineers based at Swindon.
It is understood both vehicles are being seen as transition projects and that their success, combined with the recruitment of Honda’s first European vehicle project leader, could result in more vehicles being fully engineered in Europe, for Europe.
This almost certainly means Honda’s Swindon engineering site is all set to grow further in the future.
So, while the 2014 Civic will be one of the first British-built Hondas to boast significant engineering from a British team, it’s likely to be far from a one-off – another fillip to Britain’s booming car industry!