Honda will invest $40 million to increase production in Greensburg, Ind., by 50,000 cars next year, adding 300 jobs and assembly of the new Civic hybrid.
Richard Schostek, senior vice president, Honda of America Manufacturing, made the announcement in Detroit today at an Automotive Press Association event.
The investments are part of $1.6 billion announced in the past 18 months as the automaker works to increase the global importance of its North American operations.
Honda will mark 30 years of manufacturing in the U.S. on Nov. 1 and the first plant in Marysville, Ohio, continues to make the Accord three decades after opening.
Greensburg will be the sole global source of the Civic hybrid as Honda will cease making it in Japan.
The plant, which will build 250,000 vehicles annually, already makes the gasoline and compressed natural gas versions of the Civic and in April started making the all-new Acura ILX hybrid. To handle it, last fall a second shift of 1,000 workers was added.
Honda was the first Japanese automaker to start manufacturing vehicles in the U.S. three decades ago. Today it has seven plants and nine assembly lines with the capacity to make 1.63 million vehicles a year in North America.
By 2014, when a new plant in Mexico starts making the Honda Fit, North American capacity will hit 1.92 million vehicles annually, Schostek. That makes it Honda's largest manufacturing base in the world.
And the continent will be building the full range of vehicles from the subcompact Fit to the Odyssey minivan, Ridgeline pickup and large utility vehicles. Canada is becoming a hub for small cars and crossovers. And a new dedicated facility in Ohio will make the new NSX sports car
Schostek said the company wants to take things further, making North America the lead for more global vehicles and platforms in the future, as opposed to past practices of launching key products in Japan and rolling them out in North America a few months later.
In 2011, 85% of Honda and Acura models sold in the U.S. were built in North America and that figure will grow to 90% in the next few years.
Additionally, Honda wants more exports of vehicles as well as parts from North America to other regions of the world.
Last year Honda exported 53,000 vehicles from North America. That figure will grow to 100,000 this year and double a few years later, Schostek said.
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