ATLANTA - Honda Motor Co. will begin producing automatic transmissions at a new plant in Georgia next spring - six months earlier than planned.
The five-speed transmissions will be made at Honda Precision Parts of Georgia LLC in Tallapoosa, 40 miles west of Atlanta.
The transmissions will be installed in Pilot SUVs and Odyssey minivans built in Lincoln, Ala.
The Tallapoosa plant will employ 400 people and will have capacity for 300,000 transmissions in 2007.
Five-speed automatics for the Pilot and Odyssey now are assembled at Honda's transmission plant in Russells Point, Ohio.
Honda says strong demand for the Pilot and Odyssey prompted it to begin production at Tallapoosa a half-year ahead of schedule.
In the first four months of this year, U.S. sales of the Pilot jumped 17.7 percent from a year earlier to 42,120. Odyssey sales surged 22.8 percent to 55,466.
The Lincoln plant will build 280,000 Odysseys and Pilots this year, close to full capacity of 300,000. That's up from 179,700 last year.