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Honda and BMW boost UK car industry

At the end of what has been something of a bumper year for the UK car industry, two major manufacturers have announced plans that will further boost the sector. Honda has commenced production of the Civic Tourer at its Swindon plant. It is the first estate version of the popular model to be produced in more than ten years.

At the end of what has been something of a bumper year for the UK car industry, two major manufacturers have announced plans that will further boost the sector. Honda has commenced production of the Civic Tourer at its Swindon plant. It is the first estate version of the popular model to be produced in more than ten years. Commenting on the new car, Manabu Nishimae, President and COO of Honda Europe, said: "More than any other product, the Civic Tourer highlights the ambition, energy, skill and tenacity of our associates. Developed, designed, tested and produced here in Europe, the Civic Tourer demonstrates what can be achieved by our European teams."

The Civic Tourer will be available for sale early in 2014. It has excellent boot space and CO2 emissions of only 99g/km. Production of the new model comes at a time when the UK car industry is booming and manufacturers' investment in 2013 has topped £2.5 billion. Industry analysts are predicting that the UK could break all-time records for car production within four years. The record for most cars produced stretches all the way back to 1972, when 1.92 million cars were built. However, with new models, plants and capacity coming online, the 2 million barrier could topple very soon.

Take a short drive up from Swindon to Oxford and there is more good news. BMW Group has announced that it is to create an additional 1,000 permanent jobs in the UK. The jobs will be spread across the firm's four UK manufacturing bases but the majority of the posts will be in Oxford. The expansion is part of BMW's £760 million package of investments to support the launch of the new MINI, a new range of economical three cylinder engines and expansion at Rolls-Royce. The first phase of recruitment will see 700 jobs being created early in the New Year, with the balance of 300 posts due in 2016.

This latest expansion boosts BMW's total UK investment to £2billion, since 2001. This has included a substantial new body shop at the Oxford MINI plant, which uses 1,000 robots to produce the cars. There are also new pressings facilities at the Swindon location and a retooling of the Hams Hall engine production facility to build the new three cylinder engines.

The news will come as a welcome early Christmas present for hundreds of BMW temporary workers, who will be given first option on applying for the new permanent roles.

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