Photo: Honda Considering Moving Fit Production to Mexico
Japanese automaker Honda Motor Co. is studying the possibility of moving production of its Fit model destined for the U.S. market from its plant in Japan to Mexico in 2014, the Nikkei business daily reported Wednesday.
Honda exported about 67,000 Fits from Japan last year, with 40,000 units of the small automobile destined for the U.S. market.
The automaker, which has two plants in Mexico, plans to manufacture the next version of the highly fuel efficient Fit, sold as the Jazz in some European markets, in that country.
Honda expects to open its third Mexican plant in 2014, a facility located in the central state of Guanajuato that will have the capacity to produce nearly 200,000 units annually.
The automaker could also shift some Fit production to Europe or other countries in Asia after ending manufacturing of its popular Civic and Accord models for the U.S. market at its Saitama plant north of Tokyo, Nikkei said.
Honda exported 250,000 vehicles, or less than 30 percent of its domestic production, in 2011. That figure was well below the 690,000 units, or 54 percent of domestic production, exported in 2007.
The automaker may be looking to cut exports down to around 200,000 units and boost manufacturing of the minivehicles that are popular in Japan and which account for about 1 million units of annual output, Nikkei said.
Rival Toyota Motor Co., Japan’s largest automaker, is planning to produce Corollas bound for foreign markets outside the country to avoid taking a hit to profits due to the strong yen, the business daily said.