Honda Motor Co. will invest $84 million to expand production of engines and light trucks at its assembly factory in Lincoln, Alabama, boosting the plant's annual capacity from 300,000 engines and vehicles to 340,000 by 2013. The company will also be hiring 100 more workers, on top of the more than 4,000 people currently employed in the plant.
Automakers in Asia such as Honda are expanding output capacity in North America as U.S. sales recover from a recession in 2008 and 2009.
The demand for new trucks and cars increased 10 percent this 2011 through October. Most analysts and companies are estimating total sales in 2011 to be in the range of 12.5 million to 13 million units. Spokesperson Ed Miler for Honda stated that they are confident with the ability of their associates to develop the products that Americans want.
The Alabama factory, which opened in 2001, manufactures Pilot sport-utility vehicles, Ridgeline pickups and Odyssey minivans. It also makes the six-cylinder engines they utilize. Moreover, the investment is part of Honda's plan to transfer production of Acura MDX luxury SUVs to the factory, the company disclosed.
In a separate statement, Honda mentioned that it will operate normal production shifts at plants in Canada and the United States on December 1 and 2 as it continues to recover from shortages of components from Thailand, where massive flooding affected some suppliers.
The shortage caused the company to lessen output in North America this month. The company can’t tell yet whether all Thailand-related supply issues will be resolved in December, Miller said. The U.S. headquarters of Honda is located in Torrance, California.