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
“(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).”
The $800 million plant is the company’s second facility in Mexico and brings its total manufacturing capacity in North America to 1.92 million vehicles. The first plant, located near Guadalajara, was established in El Salto, Jalisco in 1995.
In 2013, more than 90% of the Honda and Acura automobiles sold in the U.S. were produced in North America; this is expected to exceed 95% when the Celaya plant reaches full capacity, which won’t be for some time, officials said.
Honda officials were evasive when asked if a location in the United States was considered as a spot for the Fit. The company has auto assembly plants in Alabama, Indiana and Ohio.
“Our focus was to expand our presence in Mexico for the subcompact vehicles,” Schostek said. “That was the strategic decision we made and that’s why we located the plant there.”
The plant will supply Mexico initially then they will expand to the U.S. and Canada as demand dictates.
“We hope to be able to export from this facility, but we have no details to discuss about that at this time.”
(BMW is back in the film business. For more, Click Here.)
The plant will start with 1,600 workers on one shift. At full tilt, it will run two shifts with 3,200 employees. Later the plant will add a compact SUV to the production mix. The company is also building a $470 million transmission plant on the site as well. Workers will be added as demand for the Fit increases, Schostek said. The 3,200 workers mentioned earlier does not include any employees at the transmission plant.
(Click Here to get the details about the dealer rush for new Ram EcoDiesel.)
The transmission plant in Celaya will produce continuously variable transmissions (CVT) in the second half of 2015, with employment of approximately 1,500 associates.
(To see VW’s new eco-friendly Golf GTE, Click Here.)
The 2015 Fit is all new this time around with a smaller exterior, but bigger interior. The maker offers compact interior space in a subcompact frame. The company also added some spunk to the new 1.5-liter engine, which produces 130 horsepower, an increase of 13 hp over the previous iteration, while reducing weight and improving efficiency.