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Honda Reveals Plans for New HR-V Compact SUV

Will share platform with 2015 Honda Fit subcompact.

by on Apr.18, 2014

Honda confirmed today that it will build its new HR-V crossover alongside the 2015 Honda Fit at its plant in Celaya, Mexico.

Honda is about to become the newest entrant into the rapidly growing compact crossover segment.

The maker confirmed the new model will be called the Honda HR-V during a news conference at the 2014 NY Auto Show. The crossover will share the same platform as the all-new 2015 Honda Fit and will be assembled at the company’s new assembly plant in Celaya, Mexico, alongside the small car.

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“Both Fit and HR-V demonstrate how great things can come in small packages, and no one does this better than Honda,” said Jeff Conrad, senior vice president and general manager of the Honda automobile division for American Honda. “Together these models also represent Honda’s step-by-step expansion of our production in the region, which has been key to our success in America for more than 30 years.” (more…)

Honda Kicks off Production at New Mexican Plant

Celaya facility making 2015 Honda Fit, engines.

by on Feb.21, 2014

Honda kicked off production of the 2015 Honda Fit at the company's new plant in Celaya, Mexico.

Honda is looking to add sub-compact production by opening a new plant in Mexico today that will produce the 2015 Honda Fit as well as the engines for the car.

Located in Celaya, Guanajuato, which is about 150 miles north of Mexico City, the plant will produce 200,000 Fits when it’s running at full capacity, Honda officials said

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“(The plant) improves our ability to supply fuel efficient sub compacts to North America,” said Rich Schostek, senior vice president of Honda North America and North American Services. “It was critical to us enhancing our competitiveness. It rounds out our capabilities in North America. We can produce all of the vehicles in the lineup (in North America now).” (more…)

Automakers Migrating South of the Border

Mexico serving as major global production and export base.

by on Oct.21, 2013

Workers in Puebla gathered to celebrate the launch of production of the latest VW Beetle, one of many new models going South of the Border.

Despite the ongoing recovery of the U.S. market, manufacturers have been extremely reluctant to boost capacity, adding third shifts where absolutely necessary and avoiding, if at all possible, the need to invest in new assembly plants.

It’s an entirely different matter South of the Border.  In the months to come, a wide range of automotive manufacturers, including Nissan, Audi and Honda, plan to launch production at all-new plants designed to not only feed rising demand in Mexico itself but which will serve as a major export base for markets around the world.

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The boom in Mexican production is meant to take advantage not only of an abundant supply of relatively low cost labor, but also the fact that Mexico has negotiated more free trade agreements than almost any other country in the world.

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Honda Getting Ready to Launch Fit Production in Mexico

New compact crossover in the works.

by on Sep.25, 2013

The Mexican plant will produce both the Fit and a new crossover based on the same small platform.

Honda has begun construction of a new transmission plant in Celaya adjacent to the new automobile plant that will begin mass production early next year of the all-new 2015 Honda Fit in the spring of 2014, as well as a Fit-based crossover vehicle next autumn.

Rick Schostek, Honda North America senior vice president, said increasing sales of the Fit and the new crossover next year are a key element in Honda’s plans for growing sales across North America. The demand for small vehicles will grow and the new operations in Mexico will help Honda reach its objectives, he said.

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“We want to introduce a new generation of customers to the Honda and Acura brands,” Schostek said. “Our product has never been better. Nevertheless, we’re facing a challenging marketplace,” added Schostek, who added Honda will continue to emphasize retail sales.

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Mexico Auto Output to Jump 38% in 3 Years

Low wages, good location offset concerns about the ongoing drug war.

by on Aug.30, 2012

Workers in Puebla gathered to celebrate the launch of production of the latest VW Beetle.

While Mazda may have abandoned its decades-old joint venture with Ford, transferring production of the Mazda6 sedan back to Japan, the maker isn’t walking away from North American production entirely.

By mid-decade, the Japanese maker plans to open a new factory in Mexico to produce smaller products like the Mazda3.  And it isn’t alone.  Honda, Audi and Nissan are among the growing list of automotive manufacturers who have announced big plans for Mexican plants.  Mercedes-Benz is also expected to add an assembly line South of the Border to complement the factory it currently operates in Alabama.

It’s all expected to add up to a whopping 38% jump in automotive production in Mexico over the next three years – an additional 1 million vehicles, according to the head of that nation’s investment promotions agency.

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“Other companies are exploring the possibility of opening facilities in Mexico,” Carlos Guzman, president of ProMexico, told the Bloomberg News Service. “We expect a very good period of five to seven years in Mexico in terms of growing (automotive) exports.”

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Honda Upping the Ante in North America

Expanding production, increasing exports.

by on Jul.20, 2012

Honda Civic Hybrid production will shift to the U.S. as part of the maker's big North American build-up.

Honda Motor is adding additional capacity at its plant in Indiana as it shifts more production and more responsibility to its operations in North America.

In addition, it expects to double its exports of finished vehicles from the United States to other parts of the world by the middle of the decade, a senior Honda official said Wednesday.

Honda’s North American plants will export about 100,000 units this year to markets in Europe, South America and Asia, Rick Schostek, senior vice president of Honda of America Mfg., Inc., said during an appearance at the Automotive Press Association.

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“That number will double in the next couple of years,” he said, noting that as recently as 2011, Honda’s operations in the U.S. exported just 53,000 units beyond North America.

Honda, which was the first Japanese maker to produce cars in the U.S. – with the opening of its original Marysville, Ohio plant in 1982 – hit a milestone when it produced more vehicles in North America than in Japan last year.

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Honda Cuts Shipments of Cars from Japan to U.S.

Maker losing money on models like Fit, CR-Z, Insight.

by on Jun.12, 2012

Honda plans to export the Fit subcompact from China to Canada -- at least temporarily.

Honda is cutting exports of the Japanese-made Fit to U.S. dealers because of lopsided exchange rates.

Crushed by lopsided dollar/yen exchange rates, Honda is cutting back on exports from Japan to the U.S., even though that will curb potential sales and market share growth, the maker’s CEO says.

The maker hopes to offset those reductions by ramping up production in the U.S. and other parts of North America.  Honda recently broke ground in Mexico for a new plant that will supply American dealers with the subcompact Fit and possibly other products.

“Under the current exchange rate of 80 yen per dollar, our export business doesn’t make any profit,” Honda Motor Co. CEO Fumihiko Ike told the trade publication Automotive News. “Definitely, the absolute number of exports to the United States will be decreasing.”

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Honda is by no means the only Japanese maker to curb exports to the U.S. as a result of the weak dollar.  And European makers, including BMW and Audi, have also curtailed exports due to lopsided exchange rates – though with the Euro sliding the gap has narrowed in recent weeks for German and other Continental manufacturers.

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Honda Teases Two Concepts Debuting in Beijing

Big news at season’s last big auto show.

by on Apr.11, 2012

Honda offers a glimpse at two unidentified concepts coming to the Beijing Motor Show this month.

It wasn’t all that many years ago when we began seeing significant news emerging from the Beijing Motor Show. Of course, it wasn’t all that long ago that China emerged from being an automotive backwater to being the world’s biggest car market.

And this year is likely to prove one of the biggest at the biennial Beijing show, with automakers such as Nissan, GM and Volkswagen all planning announcements in less than two weeks.  The list also includes Honda, which has just released sketches of two concept vehicles it plans to debut in the Chinese capital.

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While it’s difficult to be sure what we’re seeing, the top shot would suggest something in the Accord category, no surprise considering the ever-popular sedan is set to get a complete update in the months ahead.  We already got a sense of where Honda is going with the Accord Coupe, thanks to the two-door prototype that premiered in Detroit, last January, but this could be the eagerly-awaited sedan.

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Honda Latest to Add Plant in Mexico

South of the Border becomes the new direction for the auto industry.

by on Mar.29, 2012

Honda CEO Takanobu Ito, (center right) during groundbreaking ceremonies in Mexico.

Honda de Mexico, S.A. de C.V. has begun construction of a new plant in Central Mexico – making the Japanese maker just the latest to take advantage of Mexico’s low wages and strategic location.

The new plant will begin operation in 2014 with production of the Honda Fit subcompact model, said Takanobu Ito, president & CEO of Honda Motor Co., Ltd.

Honda’s announcement comes barely two months after Nissan revealed plans for a massive, $2 billion assembly complex in Aguas Calientes, in Central Mexico – with Mercedes-Benz also considering construction of a new plant not far from the Nissan site.

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With this new facility in Mexico, Honda continues to advance its commitment to invest in and grow its operations in North America, Ito said. With growing demand for fuel-efficient vehicles, the new plant will increase Honda’s ability to meet customer needs for subcompact vehicles from within North America.

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Nissan Announces New Plant for Mexico

$2.0 bil factory will support growth across the Americas.

by on Jan.25, 2012

Nissan targets 85% "localized" production with the addition of a new plant in Mexico and another in Brazil.

Nissan will invest $2.0 billion in a new Mexican assembly plant complex intended to support its rapid growth plans across the Americas, with the factory scheduled to produce as many as 175,000 subcompact cars a year when it opens in 2013.

The new complex will complement Nissan’s two existing operations “South of the border,” and bring to 13,500 the number of workers the Japanese maker employs in the booming Mexican auto industry. That doesn’t include th e9.000 additional jobs it is expected to create in the country’s parts making network.

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A new supplier park will be built on the site of the Nissan plant, which will go up in Aguascaliente, one of the centers of Mexican automotive production., and many of those additional jobs will be located there, Nissan officials noted.

“Mexico is a key engine for Nissan’s growth in the Americas,” said Nissan Motor Co. Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn.

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