MEXICO CITY – Japanese automaker Honda said it will invest $800 million in a new Mexican plant that will manufacture fuel-efficient, subcompact models for the Mexican, U.S. and Canadian markets.
The president of the American Honda Motor Company, Tetsuo Iwamura, said the facility will occupy 500 hectares (1,230 acres) in the central city of Celaya, Guanajuato state, employ 3,200 people and have the capacity to produce 200,000 vehicles annually.
“With growing demand for fuel-efficient vehicles, this plant will increase Honda’s ability to meet customer needs for subcompact vehicles from within North America,” Iwamura said in a ceremony at the Los Pinos presidential residence.
“This new plant will further strengthen the foundation of Honda’s North American business by enabling Honda to more flexibly respond to changing market conditions from within the region.”
The executive said construction of the new plant – which will be located 340 kilometers (210 miles) from two existing Honda plants in the western city of El Salto – will begin this year and the first vehicles are scheduled to roll off the assembly line in 2014.
For his part, Mexican President Felipe Calderon said Honda’s announcement was “great news for the country” and that the new investment shows that “Mexico is on the right path.”
He said the automaker did not choose to make further investments in Mexico by chance but only after carefully analyzing the best and most competitive conditions for their vehicle projects.
Honda de Mexico was established in the Latin American country in 1985 and began manufacturing motorcycle products and automobile service parts at its first plant in El Salto, Jalisco, in 1988.
The subsidiary started manufacturing the Honda Accord sedan in 1995 at an adjacent plant, which switched to production of the Honda CR-V station wagon in 2007.
The Tokyo-based company employs more than 179,000 people worldwide and has a presence in 128 countries.