Last year, Honda announced that its future will be electric. By 2040, the Japanese automaker expects electrified models to make up 100% of global sales. To meet the deadline, the company has already launched several electrified and battery-electric models. Expect even more to arrive in the coming years. As part of the transition to an electric future, it seems there will be some major restructuring on the operations side.
According to a report by Nikkei Asia, Honda has stopped vehicle production at the Sayama Automobile Plant located in Saitama Prefecture. In addition, a “line-off” ceremony was even held at the facility to mark the occasion. Supposedly, the move to stop production at the facility comes as part of Honda’s cost-cutting initiatives and restructuring.
While production of new vehicles has stopped, the Sayama plant will not be fully shut down. It will temporarily remain operational but will be limited to the production of vehicle parts. However, the report adds that the facility will be closed within the next two or three years. Operations will then be transferred to Honda’s Yori plant. Meanwhile, workers from the Sayama plant will then be absorbed by the Yori plant or transferred to other facilities.
The Honda models built at the Sayama plant include the Step WGN, Odyssey, Legend along with the now discontinued Jade and Clarity. At its peak, it could produce around 250,000 units a year, which largely contributed to the company’s annual domestic production capacity. This isn't the first facility Honda has stopped operations. Last year, the company also shut down its UK plant (where the Civic Type R was built) and its Turkey facilities.
Although the Sayama plant might not be producing vehicles anymore, the automaker is instead investing in China. Honda recently announced that the new plant in Wuhan, China will be operational by 2024. More importantly, it will build and produce the all-electric e:N models. The annual capacity is expected to be around 120,000 units.