TOKYO -- Honda says its two Japanese assembly plants will produce at normal rates by summer, several months earlier than the automaker had expected.
The Sayama and Suzuka factories account for 27 percent of Honda's global production.
The improved outlook came a week after Honda said North American production would return to normal in summer for all models except the newly redesigned Civic.
Honda has since said it will add a second shift by year end at its Civic plant in Greensburg, Ind., to help recoup lost production.
Honda also expects displaced engineers from the company's quake-ravaged r&d center to return to work at the facility by mid-June. One person died there and several were injured when the ceiling at the body design unit collapsed during the March 11 earthquake.
In March, Honda transferred 1,000 r&d employees, or about 10 percent of the center's work force, to other buildings on site or facilities elsewhere in Japan, while repairs were made.