World of Honda

Six decades in Europe

It was in Europe that we built our first factory outside Japan, a huge undertaking for the time. Motorcycle manufacturing began in Aalst in May 1963. A Super Cub 100 was the first bike to leave the production line.

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Honda brand logo.

Striving to be the best

Because Soichiro dreamed of being number 1.

Early beginnings

How our overseas journey became a dream drive

Honda’s first overseas expansion was to North America but Europe wasn’t far behind. We began investigating how we could grow in Europe, eventually settling on a site in Belgium as the hub for our efforts.

Acclaimed ballade

Honda of the UK Manufacturing.

Our car manufacturing presence in Europe came about through working with BL. In the late 70s they were looking for a partner with which to develop a high-quality, small saloon car.

Instant acclaim

We quickly agreed they could licence-build our new Ballade that was about to be launched in Japan. When EU sales of this model began in 1981 it was renamed as the Triumph Acclaim and was a great success.

Building our home in Europe

From this original licencing deal grew 15 years of partnership that saw joint ventures such as the 1986 Legend and 1993 Accord as well as other technology sharing. In 1985, we chose a 370-acre site in Swindon, UK as the location for our first European car production plant - Honda of the UK Manufacturing (HUM). 

Honda technician working on a car.

Our technicians are devoted to attention to detail and quality control, nothing is overlooked.

Aerial shot of the Honda factory in Swindon.

The Home of the Civic 5 door, the Civic Type R and the CR-V, all built right here at Honda of the UK Manufacturing, Swindon.

Engine production started in 1989 and the first Honda built by us in Europe, the Accord, was made from 1992. European Civic production began in 1994, and we started building the CR-V there in 2000.

Euro millions

Honda in Europe grows.

The growth of Honda in Europe saw UK-built CR-Vs exported to North America for the first time in 2002. Reflecting local market demand, we started building our first diesel engine here in 2005 and in 2007 we celebrated the production of the 1 millionth Civic built in Europe.

A year later, champagne corks popped again: we had built our 2 millionth car in Europe; the 3 millionth car was built at Swindon in 2015.

Front facing Honda CR-V with factory workers.

Famous five-door

Honda in Europe today.

Our Swindon factory is, today, thriving. It’s the global hub for Civic five-door production, exporting to 70 countries worldwide and with half of the cars built there now going to the United States. Total investment in the site since 1989 exceeds £2.2 billion; all of which capital investment has been from within Honda's own resources.

Euro visionaries

To support our manufacturing and sales requirements we have three R&D sites in Europe. Two for cars, in the UK and Germany and one for motorcycles, in Italy.

Close up of Honda Earth Dreams engine.
Rear three-quarter facing Honda Civic 5 door.

Almost uniquely for Honda, the Civic five-door is only built at HUM. Wherever in the world you see one, you know it was made in Europe.