Honda lays out its plans

Honda CEO Takeo Fukui fleshed out details of Honda’s strategy at a midyear speech at Honda’s head office in Tokyo this morning. Attendees weren’t left disappointed. Fukui gave details on reports in the Japanese press about plans for North America (see my blog entry yesterday) and much more. Honda will spend $1.46 billion building three plants—in the U.S., Canada, and Japan. The location of the U.S. plant is still to be decided but will employ 1,500 and build 200,000 vehicles a year from 2008. Fukui said the location would be announced soon and help meet rising demand for more fuel efficient vehicles. In Canada, Honda will spend $140 on an engine plant and another $125 million will go on expanding components factories in Ohio and Georgia. Back home, a new 200,000 capacity plant will open in Saitama in 2010.

Honda also revealed details of its hybrid strategy, confirming plans to develop a new family hybrid from 2009, which will be cheaper than the current Civic Hybrid. Production of this new, more affordable hybrid will be in Japan with plans for sales of 200,000 worldwide—half of which will be in the U.S. That development follows speculation Honda is planning a Fit compact hybrid back in March.

Also of note is the prospect of clean diesel for the U.S., based on the engine currently on sale in Europe, within three years and a V6 clean diesel. Toyota might grab more headlines, but these are exciting times at Honda.

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