With Automotive News recently reporting a 9% new-car sales increase in Europe for the month of July, Honda's timing to adjust its global production strategy for its popular CR-V compact SUV couldn't have been better. With a number of other plants around the world in the running, Honda decided that the award-winning Alliston, Ontario facility would be the logical choice to build the next generation CR-V for the European market.

Honda CR-V

From the U.K. to Ontario

Declining share in certain European markets for Honda in recent years has placed extra importance on an optimized production strategy for the CR-V. At Honda, quality is paramount—and to achieve the levels of quality Honda customers are used to, only a location with access to the most talented and skilled workers would do. At the same time, the decision to relocate production from the U.K. had to make logistical sense.

Why Honda chose Ontario

Jerry Chenkin, president and CEO of Honda of Canada Mfg. (HCM), gave several reasons why the Ontario plant was ultimately chosen:

  1. "We're very good at making CR-Vs," he said, noting the plant produces roughly 200,000 CR-Vs a year for North American buyers.

  2. "With nearly 30 years of experience, the organization is very mature."

  3. "Turnover is very low meaning we have a lot of experienced people producing great product. There are a lot of robots and mechanization involved in the process, but it still comes down to the quality of the people and we have great people."

  4. "The negotiation of a free trade agreement with Europe by the Government of Canada under CETA (Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) was a catalyst for our decision to export CR-Vs. These opportunities will open new markets for our high quality vehicles from Canada and help keep us competitive in the global environment."

A gateway to the world

By awarding HCM the mandate to build European spec CR-Vs for export, Honda has shown the world that doing business in Ontario can be a gateway to the world. The province offers outstanding skilled workers, helps nurture an environment of innovation and has an infrastructure system that can facilitate shipment of tens of thousands of vehicles across the ocean.

Chenkin added, "We are so proud that our Canadian associates have the reputation of producing high quality vehicles that will meet the needs of the discerning European customer."

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