Honda has unveiled more job cuts at its manufacturing operations in the United Kingdom, citing slumping sales in Europe. According to Honda, it planned to move from a three-shift to a two-shift pattern at its Swindon site in England, which should result in an estimated 340 job losses. The move means that the Japanese carmaker is now expecting to build around 120,000 vehicles in 2014 at its Swindon plant, representing a 15-percent drop from its production in 2013, tagged at 140,094 vehicles.
Honda has been building cars at Swindon since 1992, producing the Civic, Civic Tourer, CR-V and Jazz models for the British and European markets. The site could produce up to 250,000 cars a year. Honda’s market share in EU and EFTA countries has dropped 1 percent from 1.1 percent so far this year. In the first two months of 2014, the carmaker’s sales in the region fell 10 percent to 18,037, according to figures from the industry body ACEA.
Ian Howells, senior vice president of Honda Motor Europe, remarked that the Japanese carmaker had not seen the growth it had forecasted over the past year. "With no increase forecasted for the next couple of years, we must scale our manufacturing activity accordingly," Howells said in a statement. Howells said Honda was confident in the long-term future of the Swindon site after a restructuring that followed 800 job cuts in 2013.
The current generation of the Honda Civic – introduced in 2006 – was a recipient of a new layout approach. The Honda Civic is underpinned by a distinct platform derived from a "center tank" layout. This allowed the Civic to offer an interior space that is large enough to cater to the needs of Europe's "C" category customers. Since Honda designed and developed the Civic to cater to European customers, the vehicle was able to gain positive feedback in the fields of design and versatility (practicality).
These attributes were vital in defining the current Honda Civic as a car with a road presence with futuristic looks as well as a multi-purpose vehicle boasting of a large boot space and multiple seat arrangements (magic seats).
When the development team for the next generation of the Civic commenced its research, it also considered the milestone attained by the current model. Thus, the development team decided to maintain while improving the qualities of the current Honda Civic. Its members are aiming to come up with a new emotional design that could offer the unexpected in terms of spaciousness as well as other practical elements. This design should also enhance the visibility and widen the field of vision, thereby improving the overall ownership experience.
To note, the current Honda Civic already boasts of an interior room and cargo capacity that is superior among its rivals. The focus of the development team was to maintain this interior room while improving the vehicle’s overall packaging and space efficiency. This focus allowed the team to create a new exterior design and improve the Civic’s aerodynamic performance, while making it lighter than its predecessor.