After two years of construction, Honda's new factory in Celaya, Mexico, has officially begun production of the all-new 2015 Fit in North America. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Honda President and CEO Takanobu Ito both attended the opening and watched the first Fit roll off the line at the $800-million plant. Later this year, Honda will add production of its new Vezel small crossover to the new facility, though the latter is expected to be marketed in North America under a new name.

The Celaya factory will specialize in building subcompact cars by employing cutting-edge tech to use less material and less energy during production. Honda is still constructing a $470-million transmission plant on the campus to build continuously variable transmissions in the second half of 2015. When it's finished, it is expected to have an annual capacity of 200,000 vehicles and employ 3,200 people.

With the facility's completion, Honda now has a 1.92-million unit annual production capacity in North America, and it claims that when Celaya reaches full production, 95-percent of vehicles sold in the US will be built in North America. The new Fit has already proven quite popular in Japan, and now we will have to wait and see if North American buyers embrace it as well. The first new Fit customer cars will hit the roads later this spring, and as Honda spokesman Steve Kinkade tells Autoblog, all Fit models sold in North American will be built at the plant. Scroll down to read the full press release about the Fit and its new Mexican home.
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Honda Increases North American Manufacturing Footprint with Production Start of Fuel-Efficient, Subcompact Vehicles at New Auto Plant in Mexico
All-new 2015 Honda Fit is first product built at Honda de Mexico auto plant in Celaya

CELAYA, Mexico
Honda continued the expansion of its manufacturing operations in North America today, by celebrating the production start of the redesigned 2015 Honda Fit at a new, technologically-advanced automobile plant of Honda de Mexico, S.A. de C.V. (HDM). The new plant in North America will increase Honda's ability to meet customer demand for fuel-efficient subcompact models from within the region. Honda celebrated with an event attended by Enrique Pena Nieto, president of Mexico, and Takanobu Ito, president & CEO of Honda Motor Co., Ltd.

The start-up of the Celaya Plant increases Honda's annual automobile production capacity in North America to approximately 1.92 million units. In 2013, more than 90 percent of the Honda and Acura automobiles sold in the U.S. were produced in North America; this is expected to exceed 95 percent when the Celaya plant reaches full capacity.

Located in Celaya, Guanajuato, the US$800 million plant began production less than two years after construction started in early 2012, and will employ 3,200 associates with an annual capacity of 200,000 vehicles and engines when it reaches full production later this year. In addition to the 2015 Honda Fit, the plant will begin production late this year of an all-new compact SUV.

"Our new plant in Mexico is based on the Honda Company Principle of maintaining a global viewpoint to supply products of the highest quality, yet at a reasonable price, for worldwide customer satisfaction," said Ito. "In Celaya, we can see these core values in action, with a commitment to the highest quality and efficiency and a focus on creating joy for our customers."

The Celaya plant, designed exclusively for the production of subcompact vehicles, features a number of Honda's most advanced manufacturing technologies in the world, including several that were first introduced last year at Honda's new Yorii Plant in Japan, to increase quality and efficiency and reduce the plant's environmental footprint. Key technologies include:

A high-speed servo stamping press and adoption of a high-speed die change process that increases the efficiency of the stamping process by approximately 40%.

An all-new, highly efficient general welder system, which joins the vehicle body panels together, achieves a major reduction in the number of welding robots, while increasing the number of weld points for higher quality and efficiency.

A new 3-coat/2-bake, water-based painting process (replacing the traditional 4-coat/3-bake process) to reduce energy consumption during the painting process by approximately 40%, while enhancing paint finish quality.

A highly efficient production line intended to reduce the time and space for assembly processes, that includes a reduction in heavy-lifting processes for improved associate ergonomics, an increase of in-plant sub-assembly processes and new strategies that ensure both more efficient and more precise vehicle assembly.

LED lighting was installed throughout the plant and vehicle yard to reduce energy usage.
Together with the new $470 million transmission plant now under construction at the same site in Celaya, the new auto plant will play a significant role in the region as Honda's North American operations take on increasing responsibilities within global Honda for product development, production and sales activities. The new transmission plant in Celaya is expected to begin production of continuously variable transmissions (CVT) in the second half of 2015, with employment of approximately 1,500 associates.

The new plants will boost Honda's capital investment in its North American operations to more than US$21 billion. Honda employs more than 33,000 associates in North America. Production operations related to automobiles also include four auto plants, two auto engine production facilities and two transmission plants in the United States, and two auto plants and an auto engine plant in Canada.

The Celaya Auto Plant is Honda de Mexico's second auto plant. The first plant, located near Guadalajara, was established in El Salto, Jalisco in 1995. The valuable experience of HDM associates from the El Salto plant is now being utilized to support the successful startup of Celaya operations. The El Salto operations also have helped increase the localization of supplied parts from Mexico that now is being more fully integrated into Honda's North American and global supply network.

Honda unveiled the 2015 Fit for the U.S. market at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last month. Set to go on sale in the U.S. this spring, the all-new Fit is completely redesigned from the ground up to deliver an unparalleled combination of style, interior space, fun-to-drive performance and fuel efficiency, together with leading-edge safety and vehicle connectivity.

About Honda
Honda began automobile production in the U.S. in 1982. It now operates 15 major manufacturing facilities in North America, producing a wide range of Honda and Acura automobiles, automobile engines and transmissions, Honda all-terrain vehicles, and power equipment products such as lawn mowers, mini-tillers and general purpose engines, using domestic and globally sourced parts.

This includes eight Honda auto plants in the North American region that have the capacity to produce 1.92 million automobiles each year, using domestic and globally sourced parts.

About Honda de Mexico
HDM was established in September 1985, and began sales of motorcycle products in 1987. In March 1988, HDM started production of motorcycle products and automobile service parts in El Salto, Jalisco. An adjacent auto production plant opened in 1995 with production of the Honda Accord, switching to production of the Honda CR-V in 2007. HDM's current annual auto production capacity is 63,000 units.


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  • 53 Comments
      fairfireman21
      • 9 Months Ago
      I do not have a problem at all of car companies wanting to assemble cars in Mexico. Our HHR was made there and we have over 96,000 problem free miles on it. Maybe it will slow the passage of illegals to the U.S. because now they have work in their homeland. Friends of mine have a FIT and it is a nice car (although I would not buy one). Everyone now days is building in Mexico (Central America not North America). There are real incintives for doing so. Cheaper labor, Cheaper realestate, Can ship it easier to anywhere.
      E
      • 9 Months Ago
      Nothing wrong with Mexicans building cars, I had a VW Jetta made there. The only thing that this transplant manufacturing tends to take away from is just the car's identity itself with the owner. You ask yourself am I driving a Mexican car or German car. In the case of Honda, is it Mexican or Japanese?
        2 wheeled menace
        • 9 Months Ago
        @E
        Everyone knows that mexican welds and sheet steel are totally different.. ;) TBH though, i find that my Japan-made japanese cars have always been made a bit more exacting. Just little stuff, like the panel gaps, some of the parts they use, and especially the paint quality. I have a 1998 200SX from Mexico and a 1996 200SX from Japan. There is a difference.
          Neez
          • 9 Months Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          My 2008 impreza was made in japan, it's awsome build quality
      thomas.leopard
      • 9 Months Ago
      Ford builds some good cars in mexico. I dont really think where they are built matters; some of the plants in mexico are actually really clean and high-tech.
        Johnny
        • 9 Months Ago
        @thomas.leopard
        Such as? My last three Ford vehicles all came from the Dearborn plant.
        VL00
        • 9 Months Ago
        @thomas.leopard
        Clean? That's your response to Americans losing their jobs to Mexico??
      Levine Levine
      • 9 Months Ago
      All those jobs and investment could have just as well materialize north of the Mexican border, in the People Republic of California (PRC). If you were stupid and ignorant of the anti-business environment, the socialist mentality of the populace, and high taxes of PRC, you might have elected to do so. But not Honda. As for the future of the jobless and impoverished, fear not. Your Socialist Police State of the PRC and Food Stamp Nation will provide for your eternal comfort and leisure lifestyle.
        skierpage
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Levine Levine
        I'm sorry California was mean to you, go cry to your mom. "Anti-business" is just a code word for reasonable regulations to protect workers and the environment. The best car in the world and the best motorcycle in the world are made in California, and as manufacturing becomes more automated and 3-D printing surges there will be more manufacturing in California, not less. California is not in any sense a socialist state.
        rcavaretti
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Levine Levine
        You must be from Texas. Please wash up before interacting with us.
        zoom_zoom_zoom
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Levine Levine
        Yeah, I don't think any Foreign auto companies will be planning any investments in California. Toyota paid a lot of money to get out of NUMMI.
          paqza
          • 9 Months Ago
          @zoom_zoom_zoom
          And Tesla seems to be doing just fine. American manufacturing and innovation are far from dead.
      Willy
      • 9 Months Ago
      Noooo! Stop the CVT plant! I foresee quality problems coming from these trannies.
        TurbosForAll
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Willy
        Hahaha!!! Agreed. I understand CVTs are simple, cheaper to build and they certainly get more MPGs, that's why they still exist; however (after a proper do-it-yourself stick, of course) I will always prefer a classic and proven multispeed torque converter automatic.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Willy
        Just because they're CVTs, right? ( meanwhile, everyone is buying automatic transmissions.. not known for their reliability, long term.. )
      zoom_zoom_zoom
      • 9 Months Ago
      Honda has sold Mexican built Honda's in the USA before. Quality and Reliability are not based on where it's assembled. It's how well the cars are designed and engineered. VWs are horribly unreliable no matter what country builds them. Some might argue Mexican built VWs are more reliable than German built versions.
        • 9 Months Ago
        @zoom_zoom_zoom
        [blocked]
      username
      • 9 Months Ago
      headline should read Honda reliability and durability plummet
        superchan7
        • 9 Months Ago
        @username
        When have cars built in Mexico been significantly worse than cars produced in the US, Japan or Europe? I used to have a German-built VW Passat. It fell apart more rapidly than my friend's Mexico-built Jetta. Initial bugs will surface at any new plant, and those will get worked out with the same quality control as other plants under the same manufacturer.
          bK
          • 9 Months Ago
          @superchan7
          Back in the days my friends 4th gen Nissan sentra, made in mexico literally had parts falling off out side and inside.
          Armand
          • 9 Months Ago
          @superchan7
          For as long as I can remember, with the exception of last gen Ford Fusion. Your own anecdote (survey sample of 1) is irrelevant.
        bK
        • 9 Months Ago
        @username
        No doubt. Although, overall reliability/quality of all car brands made anywhere has gone up significantly, compared to 10+ years ago, (thanks to technology) will never be as good as the made in Japan quality.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 9 Months Ago
      "A new 3-coat/2-bake, water-based painting process (replacing the traditional 4-coat/3-bake process) to reduce energy consumption during the painting process by approximately 40%, while enhancing paint finish quality." Uh oh. Is this bad? Paint quality on Japanese cars has been falling - are they cheaping out? I know that Toyota did this, and their cars' paint chips so damn fast. Meanwhile my 1996 and 1998 Nissans' gloss coats are still perfect except for some fading on the hood of the '96 car with 250k miles on it.
      GoBolts
      • 9 Months Ago
      Just when Honda made a much better looking car with a significant design overhaul, they decide to have it made in MeHEEko. Really??? Why would Honda want to tarnish their reputation for reliability? We all know some of the best quality is made in Japan, where the quality is impeccable. I see it like this...would you let your kids eat Mexican candy?....Probably not, because we all know its full of lead!...lol. Too bad, because this looks much better than the Civic, especially the interior, because it doesn't have that two tier digi speedo crap!
      eideard
      • 9 Months Ago
      Cripes. I thought I was at Autoblog Green. The comments read more like Fox Teabaggers. A flock of jingo Confederates must have rolled in with the sludge from contaminated reservoirs in states where hating furriners is a matter of pride.
      zoom_zoom_zoom
      • 9 Months Ago
      I predict a huge sales increase for the FIT. The new model has some nice upgrades.
      Johnny
      • 9 Months Ago
      Horrible car. The only rental I've ever returned for something else. I didn't even make it a mile away from the airport before I was fed up with the poorly designed shoebox on wheels.
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