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Honda plans plant for CVT builds

Fri, 03 May 2013

Honda Motor Co. plans to build a $470 million factory in Celaya, Mexico, to assemble continuously variable transmissions.

The factory will operate alongside a plant under construction that's scheduled to build the next-generation Fit hatchback and a Fit-based crossover.

Honda said the transmission plant will open in the second half of 2015 with an initial capacity of 350,000 units, rising to nearly 700,000 within several years. At peak capacity, the plant will employ about 1,500 workers.

The Fit assembly plant is expected to open in spring 2014 with a planned capacity of 200,000 vehicles.

The Celaya factory will be Honda's third transmission plant in North America. When Celaya reaches full production, Honda's transmission capacity in North America will exceed 2 million units.

The upcoming Fit and Fit crossover are expected to be equipped with CTVs. Honda vehicles sold now in North America equipped with CVTs are the Accord four-cylinder, Civic Hybrid and Insight. Combined sales of those vehicles account for well fewer than the Celaya transmission plant's 700,000-unit capacity. Honda spokesman Ed Miller declined to say which other vehicles might add a CVT to satisfy the plant's production.

Honda already assembles CVTs for the Accord in Russells Point, Ohio. Production of CVT pulleys will shift from Japan to Anna, Ohio, in July.

The Russells Point plant currently has capacity to supply transmissions for all Accords produced in North America, Miller said.

Miller said the Celaya plant will focus on CVTs, but he declined to comment on whether geared transmissions might be built there as well. He said the plant will focus on producing CVTs for vehicles built in North America but that export to other global markets is possible.

(Honda plans $470 million transmission plant in Mexico originally appeared on Automotive News, sub. req.)

By Mark Rechtin- Automotive News