Honda Motor Co. has made plans to start assembly of Fit Hybrid in Thailand. Also known as the Jazz, this follows previous announcements of Fit/Jazz production expansion, which has seen a new facility open in China to assemble conventional examples, including those destined for other export markets.
To date the Fit has been manufactured exclusively in Japan and it is Honda’s most popular hybrid car; last year some 86,000 examples were sold – mostly in Europe, Japan and the U.S. By adding Fit/Jazz hybrid assembly overseas, Honda hopes to limit the effect of a strengthening yen on profit margins.
A facility in Ayutthaya Province, in the central plains of Thailand has been chosen as the assembly plant for the Fit/Jazz Hybrids, which – initially at least – will be built from Complete Knock Down (CKD) kits. Key components such as the electric motors, the car’s battery system and 1.3-liter gasoline four-cylinder engine will be sourced from Japan. The opening of the Thai facility marks the very first time that Honda hybrid vehicles have been assembled in Asia, outside of Japan.
Besides attempting to minimize exchange rate issues, Fit Hybrid production was also selected for assembly in central Thailand, with the intention of supplying cars to neighboring countries. This will no doubt significantly reduce shipping and logistics issues associated with exporting complete vehicles from the Home Islands.