Honda CelayaThu, 09/10/2015 - 16:20
On February 21, 2014, 19 years after the company started operations in El Salto, Jalisco, Honda inaugurated its second Mexican plant in Celaya, Guanajuato. With an initial investment of US$800 million, this new facility started producing the 2015 version of the Honda Fit with an expected annual production of 200,000 vehicles and engines. At the moment, the plant is not yet at its full capacity, but once it reaches the 200,000 unit mark, Honda North America will produce 95% of the vehicles sold in the US.
With a projected 3,200 employees, the new Celaya plant was designed with state-of-the-art technology introduced in 2013 at Honda’s new Yorii plant in Japan, including some of the most advanced manufacturing technologies in the world. This facility features a high-speed servo stamping press and a high-speed die change system that increases stamping efficiency by 40%. In terms of welding, Celaya has a highly efficient general system to join body panels, with a reduced number of robots and an increased number of total welding points. Regarding painting, the plant features a new 3-coat/2-bake water-based process, which reduces energy consumption by 40% replacing the traditional 4-coat/3-bake process. The entire plant has LED lighting to improve energy savings, and its production line was specially designed to improve ergonomics, reduce time and space during the assembly process, and increase in-plant sub-assembly processes. All these innovations are also planned to reduce Honda’s environmental footprint throughout its manufacturing network, which entails recycling its residue, as well as recycling and treating 100% of its water. In addition to this new production line, Honda invested US$470 million in a transmission plant located at the same site in Celaya. This plant started operations in 2015, focusing on continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) with an annual production capacity of 350,000 units. With this new process, Honda will be able to supply its local plants, as well as other manufacturing sites in North America. This plant is expected to employ 1,500 associates, apart from the ones already working on the production of the Honda Fit. The CVTs produced in Celaya will be fabricated in line with Honda’s Earth Dreams Technology, helping its models achieve high standards in terms of performance and fuel efficiency. This plant will join Honda’s operations in Ohio and Georgia, increasing the company’s annual transmission production in North America from 1.375 million to 1.7 million units when fully ramped up. Furthermore, both plants will take Honda’s investment in North America up to a total of US$21 billion.
Once Honda had settled the production of the new Fit, it decided to start manufacturing the new edition of its crossover, Honda HR-V. This model will be added to the current Celaya operations, with the plant building both models simultaneously. However, the production capacity will remain the same, with a total of 200,000 when the plant reaches full capacity. A number of each of these vehicles will be destined for the domestic market, while the HR-V is also planned to be exported to Canada, Europe, and the US.
At the end of July 2015, the Celaya facilities accounted for a total of 4,579 employees and a ground extension of 566 hectares. When added to the production in Guadalajara, as well as other administrative operations in Mexico, Honda now has a combined total of 7,187 employees in the country.