New Plant is a Great Fit for Our Customers

With anticipation building for the all-new fuel-efficient and fun-to-drive 2015 Honda Fit, we are very excited about the start of production at our newest Honda auto plant in North America in Celaya, Mexico. This is a critically important new operation for our customers and for our ability to fulfill the growing responsibility our North American operations are playing within global Honda.

Past generations of our popular Fit model were imported from Japan, which sometimes constrained our capacity to meet customer needs. The ability to make subcompact vehicles here in North America, including the all-new Honda Fit and a new compact SUV to be introduced later this year, will be critical to meeting customer demand and to increasing our competitiveness in the growing and very competitive sub-compact segment.

Our five plants in the U.S. and Canada already produce compact and mid-size passenger cars, as well as light truck products. With the production of sub-compact vehicles in the new Celaya plant we now can make basically every vehicle segment in the Honda lineup from within North America.

We also are pleased that the new Celaya plant features many of Honda's newest and most advanced manufacturing technologies. Together with the skills of our associates, we are very confident that the products we build there will provide outstanding quality and value for our customers.

A key goal for us in Celaya is increasing both the efficiency and the precision of production.  The advanced production technologies include new, super-efficient painting and welding systems that achieve high quality, while reducing energy use. Throughout the plant, there also are efforts to reduce energy and water use.

At the same time, because all of our plants in North America are taking on new responsibilities to lead production of new products, we are committed to keeping each of these plants "state of the art" with the highest quality, efficiency and flexibility to meet customer needs. As just one example, the type of all-new high-speed servo stamping press that is in our new plant in Celaya also has been installed in our existing plants in Marysville, Ohio and Lincoln, Alabama as part of our overall strategy to enhance and expand our manufacturing footprint in North America. In the last three years alone, Honda has invested almost $3 billion to innovate and expand our operations in North America.

By adding 190,000 units of new production capacity at Honda auto plants in the U.S. during the last three years, together with the new 200,000-unit Celaya plant, we have boosted our annual production capacity in North America to 1.92 million units. This will go a long way to meeting the growing needs of our customers for Honda and Acura vehicles. Last year, more than 94 percent of the vehicles we sold in America were build here in North America.

Finally, we are really proud of the global team that helped create this new plant. The Celaya plant was created through the joint efforts of Honda engineers and associates from Japan, from the U.S. and from our original plant in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Expertise in small car production was contributed by engineers from Japan. Our American associates and plants provided strong support in logistics, IT, supplier development and in the training of team leaders and maintenance engineers from Mexico. And experienced associates from our original plant in Guadalajara, Mexico are providing leadership in key roles throughout the plant. I am really proud of this teamwork by Honda associates.

We are energized by this expansion of our North American footprint, which will help us fulfill our role in meeting the needs of customers here at home and around the world. But this new capability to build subcompact vehicles in North America heralds will create new value for our customers, and that will truly make for a great "fit."

Rick Schostek
Senior Vice President
Honda North America, Inc.


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