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March 3, 2010

GENEVA INTERVIEW: New Honda UK chief to “hold ship steady”

After 20 years overseeing carmaking at Honda's UK plant in Swindon, Wiltshire, David Hodgetts is now in charge of marketing, distributing and selling them.

After 20 years overseeing carmaking at Honda’s UK plant in Swindon, Wiltshire, David Hodgetts is now in charge of marketing, distributing and selling them.

He was recently named managing director of Honda (UK) , the local unit selling cars, motorcycles and power products (the European made lawnmower line is popular in the UK) and starts his new job on 1 April.

Speaking at the Geneva show, Hodgetts described his new role as something of a challenge. “It’s quite unusual to make the leap from manufacturing to sales but at least I have been with the company for a long time so I know and understand the culture. I certainly will not be charging in and making any changes. I take my time to listen and learn.”

Hodgetts’s final role at Swindon was director of planning and administration where he played a key role in guiding the plant through the four month shutdown early in 2009 which included major refurbishment, introduction of more flexible working practices and a staff development programme, all completed during the closure. The plant last year added the Jazz (Fit) to its product line

Hodgetts takes over from former MD Ken Keir, who was also senior vice president, Honda Motor Europe . Keir has now been promoted to executive vice president, responsible for business performance in 27 European markets.

Hodgetts takes over sales in a depressed UK car market a day after the government’s scrappage scheme ends.

He said: “We need to hold the ship steady. We sold 70,000 vehicles last year and we’ll be hoping to match that in 2010.

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