Honda Motor Co. President Takanobu Ito is aiming to have North America and other regional hubs export 20 to 30 percent of their output to other markets. This export target comes up as Honda’s top honcho expects record sales in the US in 2013 and in 2014. Honda’s sites in the US, Canada and Mexico set aside 5 percent of their production for export.
Honda wants a great part of the export increase to come from its Ohio and Alabama sites, where it is producing large vehicles suited to export markets, Ito told Automotive News.
He said that if a regional hub has a 100-percent production capacity, then 70 percent to 80 percent should be sold in the local market and the rest should be exported to other regions. This means that Honda’s operations in North America would ramp up shipments of large cars like the Accord sedan and Pilot crossover to overseas markets like the Middle East.
The target to boost exports from hubs like the US is part of a new realignment of Honda's production base, which has set a goal to build a bigger localized footprint that is less dependent on Japan and has the capability to react much faster to fluctuations in exchange rates and global demand. The plan also will be implemented at Honda's regional production bases in Southeast Asia, Latin America and Europe.
The US is expected to spearhead the diversification drive as it is Honda’s most developed manufacturing network outside of Japan. Ito told Automotive News that his biggest challenge “is trying to grow Honda globally in a well-balanced manner." He remarked that so far, Honda has not been able to deliver cars in “a timely manner that truly meet the differing needs of customers in the various regions." [source: automotive news - sub. required]