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LONDON (Kyodo) Honda Motor Co. said Thursday it will create 700 new jobs and step up production at one of its British plants.

The company plans to increase the size of its staff at the company’s Swindon plant to 4,900 due to growing demand for its new Civic model.

Honda said it is enjoying “unprecedented” demand for the new car in Europe. In the first eight months of 2006, sales of the Civic were up 30 percent compared with the same period a year ago. Honda has already sold more of the models than all of last year.

Next year, the automaker will boost capacity at the plant by 60,000 cars per year. The Swindon plant, in the southwest of England, currently manufactures 190,000 cars per year.

In addition, the factory will also build the new model CR-V sport utility vehicle that made its debut Thursday at the Paris Motor Show.

“We plan to increase output of both the CR-V and the Civic at our Swindon plant starting next spring, taking the Swindon up to its full capacity of 250,000 units on a yearly basis within 2007,” Honda President and CEO Takeo Fukui said.

All three Japanese carmakers in Britain — Nissan Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda — are increasing production this year. Data compiled by Kyodo News show more than half the cars made in Britain this year are Japanese makes.

August car output up

The Associated Press

Auto production in Japan rose 15.7 percent in August from the same period last year, marking the 10th straight month of rises, an industry group said Friday.

The production of cars, trucks and buses in Japan totaled 811,944 vehicles in August, up from 701,990 a year earlier, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association said.

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