Honda is expanding its manufacturing operations in North America with the production start of the redesigned 2015 Honda Fit at a new, technologically-advanced automobile plant of Honda de Mexico, S.A. de C.V. (HDM).
The new plant in North America increases Honda’s ability to meet customer demand for fuel-efficient subcompact models from within the region.
Honda explained the start-up of the Celaya Plant increases Honda’s annual automobile production capacity in North America to approximately 1.92 million units. In 2013, more than 90 percent of the Honda and Acura automobiles sold in the U.S. were produced in North America; this is expected by Honda to exceed 95 percent when the Celaya plant reaches full capacity.
Located in Celaya, Guanajuato, Honda added the US$800 million plant began production less than two years after construction started in early 2012, and will employ 3,200 associates with an annual capacity of 200,000 vehicles and engines when it reaches full production later this year.
In addition to the 2015 Honda Fit, the plant will begin production late this year of an all-new compact SUV, the Vezel.
“Our new plant in Mexico is based on the Honda Company Principle of maintaining a global viewpoint to supply products of the highest quality, yet at a reasonable price, for worldwide customer satisfaction,” said Takanobu Ito, president & CEO of Honda Motor Co., Ltd. “In Celaya, we can see these core values in action, with a commitment to the highest quality and efficiency and a focus on creating joy for our customers.”
Honda said the Celaya plant is designed exclusively for the production of subcompact vehicles and features a number of Honda’s most advanced manufacturing technologies in the world, including several that were first introduced last year at Honda’s new Yorii Plant in Japan, to increase quality and efficiency and reduce the plant’s environmental footprint.
Honda stated these key technologies include:
- A high-speed servo stamping press and adoption of a high-speed die change process that increases the efficiency of the stamping process by approximately 40%.
- An all-new, highly efficient general welder system, which joins the vehicle body panels together, achieves a major reduction in the number of welding robots, while increasing the number of weld points for higher quality and efficiency.
- A new 3-coat/2-bake, water-based painting process (replacing the traditional 4-coat/3-bake process) to reduce energy consumption during the painting process by approximately 40%, while enhancing paint finish quality.
- A highly efficient production line intended to reduce the time and space for assembly processes, that includes a reduction in heavy-lifting processes for improved associate ergonomics, an increase of in-plant sub-assembly processes and new strategies that ensure both more efficient and more precise vehicle assembly.
- LED lighting was installed throughout the plant and vehicle yard to reduce energy usage.
The Celaya Auto Plant is Honda de Mexico’s second auto plant. The first plant, located near Guadalajara, was established in El Salto, Jalisco in 1995.
Set to go on sale in the U.S. this spring, Honda unveiled the 2015 Fit for the U.S. market at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last month.