Car-maker weighs up effects of tsunami
THE knock-on effect of the Japanese disaster will be felt in unknown ways for an unforseeable time. Most car production is recovering but the component suppliers are badly affected.
Speaking at the launch of the 2011 Jazz and Accord models, in Leeds, Honda’s British PR director, Paul Ormond, said although no Honda factories were physically damaged, they had turned down output to conserve the nation’s electricity resources.
He said that 110 parts suppliers were in the stricken zone north of Tokio. The UK production of Jazz and CR-V models took around a tenth of parts, mostly electronics, from these suppliers.
“I don’t think there will be serious impact on Swindon production. We build more cars in the US than Japan so there will be some suppliers there that can replicate things.”
Also making an appearance at the Leeds event was one of the pioneers of hybrid cars, the original Insight from 2000. This was a lightweight aluminium two-seater with advanced aerodynamics. It was sold at £16,200 – a fraction of its true development cost.
The car here was restored by Honda UK. It has covered 290,000 miles and felt “new”. The light handling and cornering stability make it a joy to drive. On a short journey, it averaged 67 miles a gallon.
Value now: around £5,500.