By on February 27, 2013

A weakening yen and a rebounding economy have occurred just in time for Honda. The auto maker is opening its first new Japanese plant in 49 years, bucking a trend by Japanese auto makers of opening new plants in every locale but Japan.

Numerous trends, including a shrinking population, a strong yen and the 2011 tsunami spurred Japanese auto makers to open plants across the globe as a hedge against those factors. Localization of production was the dominant theme of the last couple years, with Nissan, Honda, Toyota and even smaller players like Mazda busying themselves with establishing factories in North America and the BRIC countries.

Honda’s new plant in Yorii, an economically depressed city northwest of Tokyo, will still build cars solely intended for the Japanese market, rather than for export. While Yorii will build vehicles like the Fit for domestic consumption, Honda’s new Mexican plant will build that model for North American markets.

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15 Comments on “Honda Opens First New Domestic Plant In Nearly 50 Years...”

  • avatar

    They must have done some massive plant expansions, even if they didn’t open new factories. 49 years ago, there was no Civic or Accord. Honda’s cars had very little international presence the in the early ’70s, when their biggest car was the H-1300. In a couple of years, they went from making as many cars a month as they’d been making in a year.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t believe they’re planning to export anything out of this plant, or really anything out of any plant in Japan. I have heard that Honda loses money on every CR-Z they sell. I don’t really feel bad though, because they deserve to lose money on every CR-Z they sell.

      Even the new NSX will be produced in Marysville OH and exported from there. Pretty amazing considering that for the original NSX, Honda build an all-new factory only for that car that later also turned out the 1st gen Insight (the one that wasn’t completely awful) and the S2000 up until 2004.

      • 0 avatar

        If they built an all new factory for the NSX, and I’m not doubting it, why does this article claim they haven’t built one in Japan since 1964?

        • 0 avatar

          List of Honda factories worldwide:

          Only two in Japan, Suzuka (1960) and Sayama(1964) plus one for motorcycles and one for small engines/outboard motors. So major expansions it must have been.

        • 0 avatar

          I suppose it means they just added an expansion on the same factory grounds. It’s done at many factories, like the continually growing Intel complexes. New chip? Add a new fab building. The old buildings keep running the old chips until they are phased out. Which reminds me… Shouldn’t they just build a factory in a circle and Human Centipede it as the older buildings become obsolete?

          Anyways, first new location for a factory complex in ages. That’s all.

        • 0 avatar

          Good catch!

        • 0 avatar

          Probably because Derek forgot about it, or likely, never knew it existed. Not many people do. It was a very small factory built onto the existing R&D center that operated only from 1989 to 2003 – the R&D plant was closed and S2000 production was moved to the volume production automated lines Suzuka.

          Every NSX, 1st gen Insight and almost every AP1 S2000 is essentially hand built. For better or worse. My ’03 S2000 has ‘T’ in the VIN just before the production number, indicating Takanezawa production. Later models have ‘S’ indicating Suzuka.

          • 0 avatar

            And LOL at citing Wikipedia. Come on.

            According to the Wiki list, where were the S2000 and NSX assembled? According to the list, they never existed.

  • avatar

    Note that the picture of the Honda Jazz at the top is probably somewhere in continental Europe – guessing from the LHD car and Euro plate frame in front. Where are Europe-spec Jazz/Fit produced currently?

  • avatar

    It’ll be a new flexible assembly line where Honda VTX 1800 motorcycle engine will show the Fit how to make 75 foot-pounds at 1,250 RPM.

  • avatar

    I cannot help wanting good things for Honda. The way they took Formula 1 by storm with their engines still amazes me decades later. Their engineering solutions were truly elegant whether for the CVCC Civic, an OHC 450 CL motorcycle or double wishbones on the cars. Jenson Button owes his title to Honda, as the Brawn car was engineered by Honda. Soichiro deserves his legacy. Now, can the current company live up it?

  • avatar

    The action by the Bank of Japan to quantitatively ease the Yen down to a more amicable rate for exporters is only a couple months old. There must be some inside communication between Honda, the BOJ, and Japanese government that indicates this policy will be a long-term policy. Otherwise why would Honda all of a sudden do an about face and start building new long-term high capital investments in Japan? Gentlemen, place your bets!

  • avatar

    Interestingly Honda stopped US motorcycle production (the Gold Wing) in 2009, moved it to Japan, and shifted the space and personnel to expand automobile production (most likely Accords).

    So it’s not unprecedented for Honda to expand production in Japan, as counterintuitive as it might sound.

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