Plagued by the threat of earthquakes, tsunamis — and lopsided exchange rates, Japanese automakers are shifting more and more manufacturing off the home islands – Honda announcing it will build its eighth North American assembly plant in Mexico.
Set to begin production in 2014, the $800 million factory will produce subcompacts – such as the Honda Fit and CR-Z — for sale in the U.S., Canadian and Mexican markets, the automaker says. Assembling those low-priced models has become increasingly difficult in Japan, especially with the yen rising to its highest level ever, all but ensuring imports would be money-losers in the North American market.
The factory will employ 3,200 and have an annual capacity of 200,000. That will bring the to 1.83 million the total number of Honda and Acura cars and light trucks the carmaker will be able to produce in North America – which it estimates will be about 87% of its volume once the new assembly plant opens.`