Nikkei. Honda Motor Co. may begin to assemble hybrid vehicles at Honda’s new plant in Indiana, President Takeo Fukui told the Nihon Keizai Shimbun.
The new factory, slated to begin operation in 2008 with annual output capacity of 200,000 units, will produce mainly small models, Fukui said. The Civic and the Fit may be made at the new plant, and Honda is considering building its small hybrid-only model—due out in 2009—there.
In his mid-year speech earlier in 2006, Fukui said that the all-new dedicated hybrid vehicle, including the hybrid unit, would be produced at Suzuka Factory in Japan. The worldwide sales plan for the car is approximately 200,000 units per year, including a projected North American sales volume of 100,000 units. (Earlier post.)
Honda currently builds the Civic and the Accord hybrid models in Japan. The start of hybrid production in North America would be the first time it manufactures such vehicles overseas.
Honda would continue to produce motors and other key advanced components in Japan. Hybrid production in North America will likely involve mainly assembly.
Separately, Fukui indicated that the automaker plans to expand its lineup of minivehicles in order to tap growing demand in Japan. Honda currently has six minivehicles: four passenger models, including the Life and the Zest, and two commercial models.
Honda has also indicated that it is interested in developing another global car model. The Civic, Accord, Fit and CR-V crossover are the four models Honda considers “global”—sold in at least three distinct regions. last year, those four models accounted for 60% of the company’s total sales.