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Honda to shut plant to streamline production

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Honda Motor Co. said Wednesday that it will close one of its two automobile assembly plants in Saitama Prefecture by fiscal 2021 in a bid to improve production efficiency.

Specifically, Honda will transfer production at the plant in Sayama to its mainstay plant in Yorii. The Sayama plant will be shut down after the completion of the transfer, streamlining the automakers domestic output footholds to three plants — in Yorii, Suzuka and Yokkaichi. The Suzuka plant and the Yokkaichi plant, which is operated by Yachiyo Industry Co., are in Mie Prefecture.

Some 4,600 workers at the Sayama plant will basically be moved to the Yorii plant.

As part of the streamlining, Honda decided to make Yachiyo Industry’s vehicle assembly business a fully owned subsidiary.

“Honda aims to enhance the competitiveness of Japan’s manufacturing sector,” the company’s President Tahahiro Hachigo said at a press conference.

Honda plans to utilize the Yorii plant as its base for developing production technologies for electric vehicles.

Honda’s domestic automobile production capacity currently stands at some 1.06 million units. But its actual output totaled about 810,000 units in fiscal 2016, which ended in March this year, with its plant utilization rate at slightly below 80 percent.

Through the plant consolidation, Honda is set to reduce its production capacity to some 810,000 vehicles, in a bid to improve its plant utilization rate to nearly 100 percent.

Even after the streamlining, Honda believes that it can increase its maximum domestic production capacity to some 900,000 vehicles through overtime. Of the total, 700,000 vehicles will be made for the domestic market and 100,000 to 200,000 units for overseas markets.

The Sayama plant, established in 1964, has an annual production capacity of 250,000 vehicles and manufactures such models as the Freed small minivan.

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