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Honda announced today that they would use excess capacity at their Alabama plant following a $300 million investment in the facility. The investment will allow for a total of 340,000 units anually.
Rising exchange rates are forcing Honda to devote more resources to North American production while reducing exports. Honda will shift their Acura MDX luxury SUV to the plant from their Canadian factory in Ontario, and use their Ontario plant to produce the 2012 Honda CR-V crossover.
As the European and U.S. suffer from an economy of alarming volatility, automakers are constantly seeking emerging markets to attain sustainable growth. Mazda, introducing its automobiles in Mexico only six years ago, have now established a new production facility, in joint venture with Sumitomo Corporation, in Salamanca, Mexico.
According to Mazda CEO Takashi Yamanouchi, “Since Mazda established its sales network in Mexico six years ago, we have experienced a remarkable acceptance from the people of Mexico. Last year Mazda sold over twenty-five thousand vehicles and captured over three percent market share. We are excited to be constructing this new facility here in Mexico with our partner Sumitomo Corporation. It will be vital to bolstering our expansion in Central and South America.”
Expected to be operation by 2014, the plant will possess manufacturing lines for both the engine and vehicle. Although plant will focus production on Mazda2 and Mazda3, don’t be surprised if it will take on the responsibility of producing the Mazda6 for United States as well.
Contrary to earlier reports, Mazda will not be ending production of its Mazda6 midsize sedan. Earlier reports suggested that the slow-selling model would be axed after reports emerged that production of the vehicle at Mazda’s Flat Rock, Michigan plant may cease.
While Mazda confirmed that the Mazda6 would remain in the lineup for some time (and will get Mazda’s new SKYACTIV powertrains), it’s possible that production at the Michigan factory may move elsewhere, and this event was misconstrued as the end of the Mazda6′s life. Mazda may move production to Mexico to take advantage of less expensive, non-union labor, as the Flat Rock plant is shared with Ford, which pays its workers $8 per hour more than its non-union counterparts.
[Source: Car and Driver]