Honda plans 3 Fit variants in Mexico
TOKYO -- Honda Motor Co. plans to build three Fit compact variants at its Mexican plant now under construction: a sedan, crossover and standard hatchback, said an executive familiar with the plan.
Honda is considering selling all three in the United States, the person said. The company thinks a general shift toward small cars may fuel U.S. demand for a sedan-styled Fit. Honda currently sells a Fit-based sedan, called the City, in Asia.
The Mexican factory, scheduled to open in 2014 with annual capacity for 200,000 vehicles, expects to deliver up to 30 percent of its output to the Mexican market, the person said.
In October, Honda President Takanobu Ito told Automotive News the vast majority of the plant's output would go to the United States. But he declined to give figures.
The outlook implies a big Mexican sales surge for Honda.
In 2011, Honda sold only 36,209 vehicles in Mexico. This year sales were up 53 percent to 42,933 units through October. Adding 60,000 would more than double Honda's sales.
Honda's second Mexican plant is key to Ito's plan to lift North American sales 18 percent to 2 million units in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2017.
The Fit is expected to be the brand's fastest growing nameplate in that period, after a redesign scheduled for next year.
Producing the Fit in Mexico will give dealers more Fits to sell unburdened by the unfavorable dollar-yen exchange rate.
Elsewhere in the world, Honda already sells a Fit wagon, minivan and sedan. Honda has said it plans to add a crossover, but it has declined to say if it would come to U.S. showrooms.
In October, American Honda Motor Co. CEO Tetsuo Iwamura said the Mexico plant will build "multiple" derivatives of the Fit but declined to specify what versions are planned.
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