By on March 29, 2012

Honda will build its Fit compact at the new Honda factory in Mexico, from where it will be exported to the U.S. and other markets. This is what the company told Hans Greimel, Automotive News [sub] rezident in Tokyo.

We have had this rumor a year ago, but this is the first time that Honda officially confirms what it will be building in its Celaya, Guanajuato, plant. On Wednesday, Honda laid the cornerstone for the new factory. It is scheduled to open for business in 2014 with a capacity of 200,000 vehicles a year.

According to Honda, the plant will increase Honda’s production capacity in North America to 1.87 million units from 1.63 million today, Honda said in a statement.

In January, Honda announced it would also build the next generation Acura NSX sports car in Ohio.

“Honda will soon produce everything from subcompacts to super cars in North America,” said Rick Schostek, senior vice president of Honda of America Manufacturing Inc.

Nissan and Mazda are building new plants in Mexico, which has free trade agreements with more than 40 countries.

Volkswagen wants to raise its capacity in Mexico by 20 percent to 615,000 units per year, says Automobilwoche [sub].

 

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21 Comments on “Honda Fit. Officially Hecho En Mexico...”


  • avatar
    Contrarian

    Heh, well that beats the UAW as far as cost and quality are concerned.

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    Well Contrarian, that’s what happens when you stand with all four feet in the trough.

  • avatar
    PenguinBoy

    I saw a new Chinese made Canadian market Fit at our local car show, and I didn’t think the perceived quality was up to Honda standards. For example, the door handles felt really loose and flimsy, and there was a rather crude looking weld on the door frame. This could just be confirmation bias, as I wasn’t expecting much of a Chinese made car and probably just found what I was looking for.

    Building in Mexico for the North American market makes more sense – there are already many Mexican made cars on sale here, so they probably won’t be looked at as closely as a Chinese made car, and shipping costs and tariffs are both likely to be lower.

  • avatar
    Dawnrazor

    Assuming they can get quality control squared away, I don’t see how this is anything other than positive. By cutting production costs, perhaps there’s a glimmer of hope that Honda will now start to RE-content its products after nearly a decade’s worth of cost-cutting and build desirable stuff again. The fiasco over the new Civic seems to indicate that the suits at Honda are finally starting to “get it”, so perhaps we can be cautiously optimistic.

    I don’t think there’s any reason to assume that Mexican-manufactured products will be in any way inferior to products built in Japan or the U.S. My wife had two Ford Escorts during the mid 90s-early 2000s which were Mexican-built and they were as trouble free as any Japanese car we’ve owned, both being sold with well over 100k and still running strong. My brother has gone through three Ford Fusion company cars (they are used HARD), with the only issue being a slightly fading dash on the last one.

  • avatar
    vbofw

    Poor Japan. They’re just getting hammered from the Yen.

    The Fit is actually one of the most fun cars I’ve ever driven. I wouldn’t want to use it as a highway cruiser, and certainly wouldn’t ever want to get into an accident in one (!), but for whipping around town these things are surprisingly a blast, at least in Sport trim.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      Why “poor Japan”? Just because the Yen is high? Doesn’t that make who still got a job in Japan make more?

      As for the fun factor of a Honda Fit, it’s way over rated. Given the price, you might as well just buy an Impreza and have the real thing.

      • 0 avatar
        vbofw

        “Doesn’t that make who still got a job in Japan make more?”

        Uhhh, well if they were paid in Japan but lived somewhere else, I guess so. But otherwise no, their living costs would be Yen-denominated as well.

        The issue is cars made in Japan, and subsequently exported elsewhere in the world, such as the Fit. Honda, Toyota, etc. are getting hammered on F/X on these.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        A strong currency means that your exports cost more to foreign buyers, relative to the exports from other countries.

        If you’re a manufacturing+export economy, you want your currency to be just a little bit weaker than the others. So, if you want a “resurgence” in American manufacturing, you should be hoping for a weaker dollar. If you want more Japanese manufacturing, then you want a weaker yen. But, both the USA and Japan import a lot of goods (and oil), too, and a weaker currency makes *those* things more expensive. Economics isn’t a zero sum game, but you do have to consider lots of tradeoffs.

        But the truth of the matter is that American manufacturing is doing just fine. American manufacturing JOBS have tanked, but that’s because robots other computerized machinery are doing most of the work. So, if you want a resurgence low/medium-skilled American manufacturing JOBS, I don’t have a good answer. If you want a job in a factory, though, being good at math and being able to read/write g-code and other programming-like languages ought to put you on the top of the resume pile.

        So, yeah, strong yen means there’s a disincentive for Honda to build factories in Japan. Even more important is that it’s probably pretty hard to predict what the foreign exchange rates will be over the life of the factory. Putting the factory economically close to its customers means that their and costs rise are more-or-less pegged to how their customers will be paying for the car, so the risk that they’ll have to sell cars at a loss is greatly reduced. Since I expect to see more volatility in the world economy over the next couple of decades (we’ve probably used about half of the world’s oil supply), this looks like a very sensible move on Honda’s part. Also, with high-speed digital communications (“the Internet”) being so pervasive, there’s much less of a downside to having the factory thousands of miles form the home office.

      • 0 avatar
        tedward

        wsn

        I’d have to disagree with that one. I don’t find the Impreza fun copmared to it’s fwd peers until it hits WRX trim. The Fit, which is far more primitive, and far lighter (by around 400lbs), is more entertaining by a large margin. That said, I’d take a base Impreza over any fwd car for snow or dirt fun.

      • 0 avatar
        GoTerpsGo

        Last weekend I drove my family and my parents to and from dinner in my parents’ three-row Pilot. I felt like I was piloting a wallowing cruise ship. Shortly after I got back to their driveway we got into my Fit to go home, and I noticed the razor-sharpness of the steering right away. I never realized just how much fun it was to drive.

      • 0 avatar
        nikita

        “Given the price, you might as well just buy an Impreza and have the real thing.”

        Find me a new Impreza near the $15K (USD) that I paid for a new 5-speed Fit.

    • 0 avatar
      afflo

      I had one for about 18 mos. The car had too many negatives to live with long term, but that little car LOVES to be zipped around. A low, lean sports car version would be a blast (you know, a CR-Z minus the heavy powerplant. A CR-Z with a Civic SI engine would be fantastic!)

      And Penguinboy: The Doorhandles on the Hecho En Nippon version are pretty flimsy as well.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Honestly have yet to see any assembled car from Mexico sway the press and poor quality has backed it up.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Ford’s Fusion is made in Mexico and consistently is recognized for being a reliable product by Consumer Reports. So does the Toyota Tacoma. Heck, even the PT Cruiser got reasonable rankings.

      You can make a good car in Mexico. Well, some companies can. VW generally can’t, but they can’t make a reliable car in Germany, either, so it’s not inherent in the location or the fault of the workers.

  • avatar
    Juniper

    This is a good thing for us. Lots of parts will be made by suppliers in the US and Canada and shiipped for this build.

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    Cautiously positive. After all, what must the Japanese have thought about the NUMMI plant? Quality is more about business culture than it is about country culture anyway.

  • avatar
    Lynn E.

    Thank you Luke42. Good to have someone who speaks economics.

  • avatar
    Slab

    How does a plant with 200,000 capacity raise North American capacity by 240,000? Must be some unique Japanese math going on.

  • avatar
    84Cressida

    Expect Toyota to move Yaris production and Prius C production to NA sometime in the next two years.


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