Honda Motor Co. has increased production capacity of the CR-V crossover to 50,000 units a year from 30,000 at its assembly plant in El Salto in western Mexico.
The Mexican-made CR-V already is sold in the United States and Mexico. It will be exported to Brazil and Argentina in January, says Honda spokesman Eduardo Aragon.
Honda started assembling the CR-V in El Salto in September after phasing out production of the Honda Accord sedan.
The El Salto plant also is raising its production of parts for the Accord and CR-V and will add an all-terrain vehicle to its lineup of vehicles shipped to the United States.
The El Salto plant has produced bumpers for the Accord since 1996. It began producing bumpers and instrument panels for the CR-V this year.
"The parts are for the United States and Mexico, and from January they'll be sent to Argentina and Brazil," Aragon said. "We make parts for the same markets to which the vehicles are exported."
Honda's production of injection-molded bumpers and instrument panels at the plant will increase from 550,000 units to 1 million a year.
Honda CEO Takeo Fukui visited the plant Nov. 22 with Mexican President Felipe Calderon. In a speech, Fukui said that between 2006 and 2008, Honda planned to invest $140 million in El Salto. The automaker assembled its first passenger car in Mexico at El Salto in 1995.
Fukui, who was in Mexico to mark the 20th anniversary of the start of Honda retail operations in the country, also said Honda will assemble a two-seater ATV called Big Red in El Salto. It will be exported exclusively to the United States, going on sale next summer.
Honda employs 2,120 at its El Salto plant. The additional Big Red output will add 130 jobs.