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GENEVA: English plant good for Honda

By Graeme Roberts | 7 March 2012

No wind turbines any time soon - Hondas Swindon plant builds the Jazz, Civic and CR-V for Europe and has exported to the US and as far as Australia

No wind turbines any time soon - Honda's Swindon plant builds the Jazz, Civic and CR-V for Europe and has exported to the US and as far as Australia

Honda is good for Swindon and Swindon is good for Honda, says the car company's head of manufacturing at its Wiltshire, southern England plant.

Mark Trowbridge added that, whatever the economic conditions, the company is in the UK for the long haul.

"Honda has invested GBP1.5bn of its own money in Swindon and has not taken any money from the British government. It is committed to the UK," he said at the Geneva show.

To reinforce that, the redesigned CR-V goes into production there from August and the company is more than half way through recruiting 500 new staff at the 370-acre plant.

Trowbridge said: "We have an excellent relationship with the local community and that is important because we are only 500 yards away from the nearest housing."

To this end, Honda has not appealed against a refusal for planning permission for wind turbines to help reduce the factory's CO2 footprint.

He said: "If the local community does not want us to do it, then we won't. We have to look at other ways such as biomass or solar energy."

The factory is also ramping up production after suffering supply shortages over the past year caused by the tsunami in Japan and floods in Thailand.

Trowbridge said: "We have a very flexible working arrangement which allows us to reduce hours in down periods such as we have just had, and increase them as demand for vehicles goes up. Our [workers] in the factory get paid the same which gives them a very strong sense of security."