Austin Rover-Honda expansion plan
By Clifford Webb,
Austin Rover and Honda are planning further joint ventures after the new Anglo-Japanese executive saloon Project XX is launched in Japan and Britain next summer.
A new engine plant at Swindon, Wiltshire, to supply both companies, and provide new jobs for 2,000 workers, is among the ideas under consideration. Yesterday, Japanese and British executives attending the ground-breaking ceremony of Honda’s new distribution centre at Swindon, denied reports that they were planning a full merger.
Mr Harold Musgrove, chairman of Austin Rover, said: “Ever since our initial talks with Honda in 1979 both sides have derived increasing benefits from the partnership. We are already talking of further joint ventures. But whatever decisions are made they will result in joint ownership of the various enterprises. Both companies are determined to preserve their corporate identity,” he said.
Officially Honda has purchased the 330-acre site at Swindon for a £20 million distribution and parts centre. But it became apparent yesterday that it was planning much more. Mr Toshio Nagay, managing director of Honda, UK, said that the former airfield would also be used as a road test centre for Honda cars built by Austin Rover at Cowley.
“Of course we have an eye on the future and must have room for further assembly or even manufacturing,” he said.