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Honda Closing Japanese Plant as Part of Electric Shift

Latest auto manufacturing giant to begin turning its ship Automotive columnist: , Updated:

Honda has just announced that it will close one of its traditional assembly plants in Japan as part of a restructuring of its resources. The Sayama plant will be shuttered as of March 2022 as part of the company’s shift in focus towards developing and producing advanced electric vehicles at its new plant in Yorii.

At present, Honda’s Japanese assembly plants are collectively only functioning at 76% of capacity. Vehicles currently being assembled at the Sayama plant (mainly the Honda Odyssey, Accord Hybrid and Acura RLX) will now come out of the Yorii plant (which produces the HR-V, Fit and others), or the Suzuka facility.

Enhanced commitment to electrification
Honda has already pledged to have hybrid and electric vehicles make up two-thirds of its global sales by 2030. According to CEO Takahiro Hachigo, the Yorii plant will become the principal production facility worldwide and serve as a template for the company’s plants elsewhere.

Having concentrated for years on producing small vehicles that consumed little fuel instead of launching itself into battery-powered models, Japan’s third-largest automaker this past June created a division dedicated exclusively to developing electric vehicles.

Then last month at the International Motor Show Germany in Frankfurt, Honda unveiled an electric urban concept car built on an all-new platform. The Urban EV concept, set to be production-ready by 2019, showed the direction Honda intends to take in terms of design and technology for its future production models. And at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show, Honda will unveil a new Sport EV concept.

Honda’s ambitious electrification plans are not dissimilar to those recently put forward by Volvo, BMW, Volkswagen, General Motors and Ford.