Honda Begins Work on New Assembly Plant in Mexico

Starting in spring 2014, the $800 million plant will produce the Honda Fit subcompact.

Honda Motor Co.'s Mexico division on Wednesday laid the foundation stone for the construction of its new plant in Celaya, Guanajuato.

The plant, operated by Honda de Mexico, S.A. de C.V., will produce the Honda Fit subcompact for the Mexican, U.S. and Canadian markets and other regions, beginning in 2014.

Honda (IW 1000/23) expects to employ 3,200 people at the plant's full annual capacity of 200,000 vehicles.

"Considering the needs of the Mexican market, which is expecting continued growth in the future, and also serving as a global production base for the North American region and beyond, we decided to make the Fit the first product to be produced here," Honda Motor President and CEO Takanobu Ito said at an event Wednesday, which included Mexico President Felipe Calderon Hinojosa.

"Also, we will create a highly efficient production system that allows us to provide high-quality products at an affordable price both by expanding the use of local parts and by utilizing global parts sourcing."

The new plant will occupy 5.66 million square meters near Celaya, Guanajuato, about 210 miles east of two existing Honda de Mexico plants in El Salto, Jalisco, which build automobiles, motorcycles and auto parts.

The Celaya facility will be Honda's eighth automotive plant -- and its 10th automotive assembly line -- in North America.

The new plant will increase Honda's automobile-production capacity in North America from 1.63 million units to 1.87 million in spring 2014.

Honda employs more than 33,000 associates in North America.

In 2011, more than 85% of the Honda and Acura cars and light trucks sold in the United States were produced in North America, according to the automaker.

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