With Japan becoming the Land of the Rising Yen, more and more automakers are moving production outside the country to improve their profit margins. On Wednesday, Honda laid the foundation stone for the construction of a new production plant in Celaya, Mexico.
The new factory will become operational in 2014 and among other cars that will be produce there is the subcompact Fit (named Jazz in other markets) for the Mexican, U.S. and Canadian markets, as well as other regions.
“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,” said Honda CEO Takanobu Ito during a special ceremony in Mexico.
The Celaya plant is expected to employ around 3,200 workers and have an annual production capacity of 200,000 units. It is the company’s 8th auto plant and its 10th auto assembly line in North America.
With this addition, Honda’s overall investment in its North American operations will reach US$21 billion and increase its production capacity in the region from 1.63 million units to 1.87 million in spring 2014. Currently, Honda employs more than 33,000 associates in North America.
According to the company, in 2011, more than 85 percent of the Honda and Acura cars and light trucks sold in the States were produced in North America, and that number is expected to surpass the 90 percent mark in the coming years.