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£267m investment could be confidence boost for Honda

Staff numbers are now up to 3500 Photo: ITV West

Japanese car giant Honda is investing £267 million in it's plant in Swindon. It's the biggest investment at the site for more than a decade.

Business Secretary Vince Cable was at the plant today to see the Civic and CR-V models roll off the production line.

Honda's 1.6 litre diesel will be on the market in December Credit: ITV West

The company is also has a new 1.6 litre diesel engine that will be on the market in December.

500 new workers have been hired to build the new products and there are plans to double production by the end of the year. This brings the amount of staff at the factory up to 3500 and the company says if demand grows that number could increase.

The production target is 182,000 units this year Credit: ITV West

Although the hiring of new staff is welcome news, it's still falls short of the number of workers in employment 4 years ago. At its peak, staff numbers were up to 5000.

The current production plan is to produce 182,000 units this year, but the factory is capable of producing 250,000.

If demand grows more staff could be hired Credit: ITV West

The increase in production and staff seems to be a step in the right direction for the factory's fortunes.

With the new CR-V we've got a product that people want to buy...We think it's going to sell. In addition we've got a highly motivated, highly trained and flexible workforce ready to deliver that product.

– Kim Ballamy - Director, Honda UK

It's been a lean few years for the car industry and Honda. Pricing for the new products will be announced in the next couple of weeks. If the price is right and sales are good it could be a big confidence boost for the company.