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Realistbear

Will Honda Move Out Of Swindon? Employment Issue

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Swindon relies on Civic production to keep the factory gates from closing and for Honda to export jobs elsewhere in line with Peugeot. Apparently the new Civic is very British with regard to quality--not good:

http://autos.yahoo.com/newcars/honda_civic...BsCjrCNvGhRiL8F

want to return it
by ck (11/23/05)
130 out of 193 people found this review helpful
Pros: nice interior
Cons: wipers make noices, car would not start 3 times, air bag warning light comes on etc..
looks nice, but lacks substance.
:(
not happy with purchase want to return it.
to many small things went wrong quickly. ...

Even the ones who liked it are reporting faults--unheard of in Hondas!

Edited by Realistbear

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Stop the nonsense - the new Civic built in Swindon is meeting Honda's usual criteria - it's a new car and it will have teething problems. As other poster said, US cars are US built and are built to US standards, i.e. crap.

The Civic is going to be built there for four years - and it will be - the pressure will come with the next model cycle - where will it be built - cue massive government subsidies though at the moment, Honda does not have European capacity to build those numbers elsewhere....

Can we stop panning what are UK successes and adding 2 and 2 and making -40%.

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4337438.stm

Honda UK raises its global importance

Analysis

By Jorn Madslien

BBC News business reporter

Honda's decision to design and manufacture the new Civic in the UK is testimony to the global importance of its Swindon operations.
Honda worker at the Swindon factory
Every single new Civic model will be built in Swindon
"This is the only Honda specifically designed for Europe, and the only factory where Honda will produce this Civic is here in Swindon," Ken Keir, Honda UK's managing director, tells BBC News.
Honda's Swindon-factory has been making Civics and other models for 13 years, and despite the strength of the pound the
models have been exported to mainland Europe, the US and even Japan.
It seems there are few reasons for Honda's Swindon staff to fear the future.

Are you sure the US model is not made in Swindon?

Edit:

http://www.swindonoffice.com/articles/hondanewcivic05.htm

Swindonians will most probably see the first cars on our roads in November, with the first batch destined to be exported to Honda's homeland, Japan, and the
US
. The new Civic will be available to buy in the UK in January 2006.
Edited by Realistbear

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Yes, the coupe is US market designed and built (it's a graduate present much like the Scion XB or the Saturns) - it's a pile of crap. We get a few of them each year and they are poorer than any Japanese or British built Honda, built to a price, not a quality level.

The 5 door hatch is not sold in the US, the current version's not getting a 3 door hatch in the UK and the hybrid IMA is a 4 door sedan/saloon.

They are not really the same car.Off memory, the US cars are built in either Liberty Ohio, or Alliston, Ontario.

[geek mode off]

Edited by Rachman

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Yes, the coupe is US market designed and built (it's a graduate present much like the Scion XB or the Saturns) - it's a pile of crap. We get a few of them each year and they are poorer than any Japanese or British built Honda, built to a price, not a quality level.

The 5 door hatch is not sold in the US, the current version's not getting a 3 door hatch in the UK and the hybrid IMA is a 4 door sedan/saloon.

They are not really the same car.Off memory, the US cars are built in either Liberty Ohio, or Alliston, Ontario.

[geek mode off]

It looks like the "sedan" is crap also:

http://autos.yahoo.com/newcars/honda_civic...o6NVBxmfB7lFMsF

Which Honda Civic is made in the UK and sold on the US market? They only have two models here: 2 door coupe and 4 door sedan and bnoth look like they are getting terrible ratings. If Swindon are shipping something to the States as the articles suggest I wonder which it could be? :blink:

I was a huge Honda fan when living in the States and owned 4 Accords and a Civic over a number of years and all of them were 100% reliable and had huge residuals. These reports on Yahoo are the first I have EVER seen saying Hondas are shoddy. :o

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Of course its impossible that this posts are by competitors, eh?

Or its possible that it actually gets 4.5 stars out of 5 overall and that you are posting links to some of the lowest rated (most "helpful") reviews?

Either STOP rubbishing everything British or piss of to Australia. I'm sure they'd love to have another whinging pom.

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Of course its impossible that this posts are by competitors, eh?

Or its possible that it actually gets 4.5 stars out of 5 overall and that you are posting links to some of the lowest rated (most "helpful") reviews?

Either STOP rubbishing everything British or piss of to Australia. I'm sure they'd love to have another whinging pom.

The links are to the entire review section--225 of them. I am not sure how the 4.5 star rating comes about as the first 5 pages of reviews are very low. To see anythbing less than a 4 star review for a Honda used to be a rare event. I would have rated all of my previous Hondas as 4 star (5 stars if they had handled better). However, I did have a 2000 Prelude Type s/h with the 200bhp engine and special handling (s/h) package that made it one of the world's greatest handling cars regardless of price. That one got my 5 star rating.

What concerns me is that IF Swindon are turning out Civic that are getting uncharacteristicly bad reviews it might persude the Japs to move their factory where labour is both cheaper and more prone toward quality control.

Its still a mystery if the US Civic are part of Swindon's export efforts of they are being made elsewhere? The Accord is built in the US and gets very high ratings (on the West Coast they import the Accord mostly from Japan--I had one of the Jap versions and it was a 4.5 star vehicle with the best 5 speed automatic transmissions coupled with a 165hp 2.4 litre 4--best Honda I have ever owned--cost $19k brand new!).

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I'd be surprised if Honda moved out of Swindon any time soon. I doubt they care too much about the ratings they're getting on Yahoo.

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I stand more by my memory than I do the Swindon 'newspaper' - the CRV is exported to the US IIRC as was the old model Civic 3 door, but I don't think the new 5 door is.

I have dug and checked, but I think it's just lazy reporting from the Swindonoffice, unless someone tells me different.

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What Makes Honda's Swindon Factory Tick?

Swindon, Wiltshire has progressed through the years from being a famous railway town to now being a motor-town, the high-tech home of Honda of the UK Manufacturing, or HUM, as it is known.

The HUM site at South Marston is a £1.33billion, fully integrated car manufacturing facility producing totally finished cars ready for the road. The processes on-site include engine casting and assembly, the pressing of body panel, body assembly, painting, final vehicle assembly and test track sign-off.

Honda was founded in Japan in 1948 but now it has 120 manufacturing facilities in 29 countries around the world employing 131,600 ‘Associates’. 4,000 of them are employed at the South Marston facilities in Swindon, home to HUM, HRE (Honda Research Europe), EGE (Honda Engineering) and SDC (their logistics supply division).

Of the 4,000 employees on site, 3,500 are employed on the production lines. Around 80 Japanese engineers work at the factory, mainly in technology transfer roles. Of the total workforce just over 10 per cent are female. Honda also has a reserve of 400 temporary Associates who work as and when required to top up production rates or to provide sickness cover. Eighty per cent of Associates live within a 30-mile radius of Swindon.

Honda in conjunction with the local college also operates a Technical Training Programme for young recruits to the company. This programme for 14 salaried recruits being trained at any one time runs on a three-year cycle. The apprentices spend time at college and being trained directly on site at South Marston. Honda says the work attitude of potential new recruits is more important than the educational qualifications they leave school with. After training their progression through the company is down to attitude and real–life capabilities and showing us they really want to work here.

The South Marston sites covers 1.5million square metres or 370 acres and it was formerly an airfield and an aircraft production facility where, during World War II, Spitfire aircraft, amongst others, were produced by Vickers Aviation. Honda uses one of the airfield’s original two runways today as the on-site test track for their new CR-V medium sized 4x4s and Civic models built at this facility.

Honda bought the South Marston site in 1985 and initially set up a Pre-Delivery Inspection facility there for the cars which were built by Rover at Longbridge and Oxford but were badged as Hondas. Honda then opened an engine assembly facility on-site making power units for Honda and Rover cars.

Car Plant 1 came on stream in 1992 and in 2001 Car Plant 2 was added to the South Marston site.

Honda’s Swindon manufacturing site currently produces around 190,000 cars a year, 75 per cent of which are exported. Honda produce engines at the rate of 180,000 units a year at Swindon. In addition to petrol engines, they have just added production of their latest high tech diesel engine. Some engines produced at Swindon are exported to Turkey where Honda manufactures a four-door version of the Civic for the Eastern European and Chinese markets.

In theory, the current site could produce up to 250,000 cars annually if a four-shift system was adopted but HUM say there are currently no plans for this to happen. Currently HUM operates for 237 working days over a five day week with Associates working 37 hours per week. The average wage for the 4,000 Associates is just under £20,000 per annum. The facilities close completely for the annual summer holidays and at Christmas.

HUM is the UK’s fourth largest passenger car factory with 870 cars being manufactured daily. The site is divided up into three manufacturing units.

Car Plant 1, as it is known, produces the Honda CR-V 4x4 and the recently launched Civic 5-door models at the rate of 600 units a day with 2,220 Associates operating on a two shift rota, 06.00 until 14.20 and 15.30 to 23.50.

Car Plant 2, with 700 Associates, manufactures 270 Civic 5-door models daily on a one shift basis operating from 07.00 to 15.30 or 08.00 to 16.40. The staggered starting times are used to reduce traffic congestion at peak times on local roads.

The third on-site facility is the Engine Plant that produces 1,000 units a day on a two shift system.

Latest production innovations on site include a new manufacturing system in Plant 2 where welding robots automatically go to the jigs holding the panels to be welded together rather than the conventional system where panels are transported to the assembly jigs. The robots automatically change their own welding heads depending on which panels they are joining This Plant uses 142 robots with just 74 Associates. This system, which speeds up production rates, will be adopted in Plant 1 in the future.

The Engine Plant now has its own high precision aluminium smelters where 25 tonnes of aluminium ingots are used daily to produce, by die-cast and injection moulding processes, cylinder heads and cylinder blocks. A cylinder block is produced every 110 seconds and two cylinder heads are produced in pairs every two minutes. This Plant has only recently started producing and machining cylinder heads for Honda’s award winning new diesel engine. It is expected that cylinder block production for this engine will also start this year. Up to now components for this advanced engine have been brought from Japan to Swindon for final assembly.

The Swindon Engine Plant has the only manufacturing facility in the UK where petrol and diesel engines are assembled on the same production lines. It produces 300 diesel and 380 petrol engines daily. At the end of the engine line there are three dynometers where around one engine in a thousand, depending on what manufacturing or specification changes have taken place in the production process, is run up to test performance and durability. These tests can run from one to 400 hours per engine covering up to 8,000 different operating cycles, from stop-start through to running at prolonged maximum speeds. At the end of the tests the engines are destroyed and not fitted to production vehicles. To re-cycle the energy generated during the tests each ‘dyno’ is linked to a generator which provides electricity to top up the power used by the South Marston facilities.

Production of the latest Civic range is the ninth new model to be produced by HUM in Swindon and in a full year 100,000 units, or 500 every working day, will roll off the Wiltshire production lines. Of these 27 per cent will be sold in the UK, 33 per cent will go to the USA, 39 per cent to Europe and 0.2 per cent to Japan, that being the Civic Type-R which will be built exclusively at Swindon.

This year Honda will add production of the new Civic 3-door model line up and world exclusive production of the high performance Civic Type-R to the HUM Swindon factory.

All the vehicles are moved from the South Marston production facility by car transporter lorries either to UK dealers or to docks at Southampton, Portbury or Avonmouth, depending on which country they are to be exported to. Ninety five per cent of all cars produced at South Marston will have been transported from the site within 24 hours of their manufacture.

Mike Godfrey, senior manager and chief engineer environment and business administration, at HUM said, "We are always considering the possibility of moving cars off-site and parts on to the site by rail but the rail network is too expensive and currently it is focussed only on passenger travel." Ironic really, when Swindon has a heritage of being a railway town.

Currently HUM has 200 global suppliers of components and parts to meet their production needs at Swindon, these include 1.4-litre petrol engines from Honda in Japan. To bring this material on-site three lorries arrive every two minutes providing components two hours before they are used in a "just in time" delivery process.

To reduce traffic congestion caused by lorries entering and departing the South Marston site there is a direct link road to the main A419 Swindon bypass. The site also has its own internal road system linking all the production facilities and their Q-Point distribution centre.

http://www.carpages.co.uk/honda/honda-swin...ry-06-02-06.asp

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You know what, I am still certain they are NOT making a 3 door Civic this time and if they are, it's not goling to be built at Swindon. I have bought 7 of them in the last decade and am a bit of a geek on this stuff.

It's a 2 door coupe for the US, a four door saloon for the US, a a four door hybrid for US and Europe built in US/Canada, 5 door hatch for the rest of us - and no 5 door hatch in US - even the Show car at Geneva for the new Type R was a 5 door, not a 3 door (which given they want to race and rally it, would be the obvious choice, given it's inherent greater rigidity.

BUT, I am happy to be proved wrong - I just think these reports are out of date and show up old thinking.

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I waited eagerly for the new Honda Civic and was sorely disappointed.

For a start, IMPO, I find it way too small inside to feel any space or comfrot around me - the previous Civic felt more roomy. The door handles, IMPO, feel as if they are going to come off in your hand and I simply cannot believe the rear design of the hatch window - I wouldn't want to reverse park that on a dry day let alone a dark wet evening.

I have read reviews that rave about the shape and design but have commented that the ride quality is pretty dismal - I think WhatCar comments that they wonder whether anyone can live with the ride quality day in day out. Not good.

I don't know what Honda is up to. They decided not to have a hatch in the new Accord, what a mistake that is, as they are competing with Mazda 6s and Mondeos on one side and BMWs and Passats on the other side. They seemed to decide to charge VW/BMW prices for the Accord but then offered... what?

Add to that that apparently sales of small family hatches is falling in the UK as people go for MPVs and 4x4s then you do have to wonder what future the Swindon plant has. Of course, Swindon also makes the CR-V and apparently we are buying them like no tomorrow... yet I do not see that many on the road and, IMPO, they are too expensive for what they are by about a good 5K.

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I don't know what Honda is up to. They decided not to have a hatch in the new Accord, what a mistake that is, as they are competing with Mazda 6s and Mondeos on one side and BMWs and Passats on the other side. They seemed to decide to charge VW/BMW prices for the Accord but then offered... what?

Add to that that apparently sales of small family hatches is falling in the UK as people go for MPVs and 4x4s then you do have to wonder what future the Swindon plant has. Of course, Swindon also makes the CR-V and apparently we are buying them like no tomorrow... yet I do not see that many on the road and, IMPO, they are too expensive for what they are by about a good 5K.

I had a choice of Passat or Accord as the motorway car. I bought the Passat.

It's 3 years old, it's had the AA out three times, it's broken down four times, the electrics fail all the time, it's currently undriveable as it's losing coolant, the wheel bearings have less than 10K left in them, it's heavy on discs and pads. It's rubbish. The VW is not a premium product, it's got a veneer of respectability and it's an AUdi A4 underneath, but it's simply not good enough. I wish I had bought the Accord.

If you look at European volumes, the 3 box sells well enough and it did not create enough incremental sales to engineer the Accord as a saloon and hatch. The Passat is also a saloon, as is the 3 series, as is the Lexus, as is the C class. All priced above the usual repfodder Mondeo, Laguna and Vectra. Honda have it right, I am convinced.

However, I won't be buying a new Civic for me - the rear visibility is appalling, it's not available at big enough discounts yet, and the seat offers no underthigh support (the squab is too short). The ride is an easy fix - they did exactly the same with the Jazz at launch. The CRV is a big seller, it's paid off its development and tooling investment and it's very profitable.

[anyway, back to why my house is worth 10p]

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I waited eagerly for the new Honda Civic and was sorely disappointed.

I think that it puts too much form over function, e.g. there is no rear wiper.

After having considered a number of models I bought a Ford Focus and haven't regretted it.

As for the original post, I think it's highly unfair to point to consumer reviews of the Civic and say that it's something to do with Swindon.

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I think that it puts too much form over function, e.g. there is no rear wiper.

After having considered a number of models I bought a Ford Focus and haven't regretted it.

As for the original post, I think it's highly unfair to point to consumer reviews of the Civic and say that it's something to do with Swindon.

At risk of sounding like a car dealer (having been through Civics and Passats), I bought the missus a Focus last year, it's an amazing piece of kit for the money - it does exactly what it says on the tin and it's peanuts to service, superb to drive and utterly classless - if anyone is looking at buying a hatchback, you HAVE to try one (it's far superior to drive than a Golf and about 70% of the price (so cost to own is lower)) - given a choice for any short journey, I ALWAYS take the Focus and often in preference to the Porsche [takes less time to warm through].

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The new Civic is overpriced and not up to Honda's usual standard. It is also caught between a rock and hard place with it's fresh youthful appearance on the one hand and the Honda badge on the other.

It's clearly failing to sell in the kind of quantities that Honda expected it to - how many have you seen on the road in the past week?

Don't get me wrong, I rate Honda very highly and drive an Accord which is by far the best car I have ever owned. They've just got it badly wrong with the new Civic.

I suspect it'll be the last car Honda build in the UK.

You can't judge the sales performance of a car launched just three months ago by counting how many you see on the roads.

You'll be telling us next that houses are selling like hot cakes because of the number of "sold" signs you see in your area.

Let's have some debate based on fact rather than subjective gut feel.

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Apologies, you're right. Post what you like.

It's utter tosh though.

Phew, thank goodness for that. The Internet would grind to a halt if utter tosh was banned! Oh, hang on... we'd all go and download porn instead!

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At risk of sounding like a car dealer (having been through Civics and Passats), I bought the missus a Focus last year, it's an amazing piece of kit for the money - it does exactly what it says on the tin and it's peanuts to service, superb to drive and utterly classless - if anyone is looking at buying a hatchback, you HAVE to try one (it's far superior to drive than a Golf and about 70% of the price (so cost to own is lower)) - given a choice for any short journey, I ALWAYS take the Focus and often in preference to the Porsche [takes less time to warm through].

Agree with your comments on the new Focus. Many people living near me have purchased the new Focus (using their own money) six at last count. I bought a 2.0 diesel in December (relax - 6 months old - huge saving for cash) and it's a superb car, cheap, powerful, frugal and like you say classless. A car you can buy without having to MEW. Maybe that could be a new slogan.

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Agree with your comments on the new Focus. Many people living near me have purchased the new Focus (using their own money) six at last count. I bought a 2.0 diesel in December (relax - 6 months old - huge saving for cash) and it's a superb car, cheap, powerful, frugal and like you say classless. A car you can buy without having to MEW. Maybe that could be a new slogan.

I keep hearing people rave about the Mondeo and the Focus but I wonder whether they are diehard Ford fans and simply love the blue oval?

I have to admit I have been looking at cars of late and it has shocked me how the Focus and the Mondeo have impressed - I find the Focus a tad cramped for my height of 6 foot 2 inches and a friend, who used to be anti-Ford, now raves about his Mondeo Ghia diesel that he purchased at 9 months for just under 12K.

Alas, everytime I look at a Ford I get the feeling that my Dad would turn over in his grave, God bless him, at the thought of even considering a Ford but, in his day, Fords were pretty lousey. I have also noticed that you can see a Focus or Mondeo of the same age and one will look brand spanking new and the other will look well knackered - I wonder if Ford still suffers from that built on Monday morning/Friday afternoon pot-luck when you buy one?

My local garage recommends going for Japanese cars now - a few years back it was 50/50 between Japanese and German but he says he no longer rates the German cars for reliability. However, when you mention Ford to him he simply shudders... and then comes close to swearing.

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I keep hearing people rave about the Mondeo and the Focus but I wonder whether they are diehard Ford fans and simply love the blue oval?

My local garage recommends going for Japanese cars now - a few years back it was 50/50 between Japanese and German but he says he no longer rates the German cars for reliability. However, when you mention Ford to him he simply shudders... and then comes close to swearing.

Ford hired the Passat designer, just look at the interiors since about 2000 and the wheelarches of the Mondeo. Great move - increase perceived quality. I had never owned or bought a Ford before, but it's a whole leap over an Escrote or Sierra or Mk1 Mondeo. I have owned lots of Japanese and German cars (most of the Fords are either Belgian or German anyway - we don't make any Fords in the UK anymore).

As for cars that look rough, it's the rep market that does it - people get foisted with a car they did not want (they wanted a 3 series as usual) and batter it.

Keep an eye on the water pump on the 2.0 diesel - it's the only real weak spot in the Tdci engine.

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I rented a diesel Mondeo a few years ago (actually booked their cheapest car but they're run out so they gave me that instead). Aside from being huge and already rusting even though it only had about 3,000 miles on the clock, it was a pretty good car and averaged about 45mpg over nearly a thousand miles even with plenty of 90+mph stretches on the motorways.

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I suspect it'll be the last car Honda build in the UK.

Correct, if the current conditions continue there will be no car manufacturing in this country in ten years time.

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