Honda of Mexico officially began construction this week of a new plant in Celaya, Guanajuato, Mexico, that will start making the Fit subcompact for North America in 2014.
The Fit, or Jazz in some markets, is one of Honda’s four global products (along with Civic, Accord and CR-V) and is built regionally at several plants around the world. But all U.S. Fits currently come from Japan, according to Honda spokesman Chris Naughton.
But the weak dollar no doubt has made building a lower-margin subcompact in yen and selling it for dollars an increasingly unattractive proposition for Honda.
The new Mexican plant will create about 3,200 jobs, the company says, when it is running at its production capacity of 200,000 vehicles. Initially it will build the Fit for NAFTA markets — Mexico, the U.S. and Canada — and for unspecified other regions.
The new factory will be Honda’s eighth auto assembly plant in North America, and 10th assembly line. Its auto-related plants in the U.S. include four assembly plants, two engine plants and two transmission plants, plus there are two assembly plants and an engine plant in Canada and an existing assembly plant in El Salto, Mexico, about 200 miles from the new factory.
Honda says that already in 2011 85% of Honda and Acura vehicles sold in the U.S. were produced in North America and the addition of the Fit will raise that.