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Honda car production returning to Europe “a possibility”, says CEO

Honda production could return to Europe just a few years after its Swindon factory closed its doors

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Honda CEO Toshihiro Mibe hasn’t ruled out the possibility of car production returning to Europe, even though his company closed its factory in Swindon in 2021.

He was speaking at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, US, where the firm launched its new generation of electric vehicles under the 0 Series sub-brand. This will start with a production version of its Saloon concept, which is set to be followed by a couple of SUVs, a small Jazz-sized affordable car and a sports car.

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Honda is planning to make all its products and activities carbon neutral by 2050, so localised production would seem a natural step towards that goal. Asked whether he thought Honda’s decision to close the Swindon plant was premature, given the brand’s carbon-neutral goals, Mibe told Auto Express, “The decision at the time was correct. For the future, Honda will be active in the [European] market with cars produced in the rest of the world.”

Asked if local production could return to Europe, Mibe said, “It may be a possibility, but for the time being we plan to export to Europe. Nothing is decided at this point.”

Honda’s Swindon plant was established in 1985, with engine production starting in 1989. Models such as the Civic, Jazz, CR-V and Accord were all made there, with cars exported across Europe and even to Japan and the US. The plant was closed in July 2021 when there were still around 3,400 employees.

It’s expected that the 370-acre site will eventually be turned over to housing, although a Honda Heritage Garden, which features play and learning areas, plus areas celebrating nature and the models made in Swindon, opened for community use in 2022.

Now read more about Honda's new 0 Series EVs...

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