Japanese car manufacturer Honda is to install a new production line at its Swindon plant to manufacture 1.0-litre engines, a company source has revealed.
Work on the new line will begin next year with full-scale engine production due by 2002.
At the Geneva Motor Show in March, Honda said it would introduce three sub-compact cars into the European market over the next two years. Local manufacture was central to its business strategy, the company said.
Officially, Honda is saying all three cars will be built in Japan, and denies there are plans for UK production of a 1.0-litre engine.
But a company source told The Engineer that Honda in Japan had given the go-ahead for the project. ‘A 1.0-litre production line will be built in the UK by 2002,’ he said.
The Swindon plant currently produces 135,000 engines a year. The 370-acre site has plenty of room for expansion. Introduction of the new engine would also make it likely that Swindon would build the new sub-compact cars as well.
Honda’s Swindon plant produces three models the new Civic Aero Deck, Accord four-door and Civic five-door, and a mix of four-cylinder engines, including some for Rover. Engines have capacities between 1.4 and 2.2 litres.
The plant is undergoing investment to boost vehicle production capacity to 150,000 by the end of this year.
Last year it manufactured 108,000 cars, 75% of which were exported to mainland Europe.
Honda has said it wants to increase sales in Europe from 250,000 to 300,000 by 2000.