Honda Motor Co. plans to boost capacity 25 percent, or by 50,000 units, at its plant in Greensburg, Ind., and launch production of the Civic Hybrid there early next year.
The $40 million investment will create 300 jobs by the end of the year, the company said today. The Civic Hybrid is made in Japan now, but starting next year the Indiana plant will be the sole global source of the model, Honda said today in a statement.
The strong Japanese yen is eroding profits on imports and forcing Honda and other automakers to shift output from Japan to overseas sites.
The Indiana factory, which opened in October 2008 to produce Civic sedans, will be able to assemble 250,000 vehicles a year. It also produces natural gas-powered Civic models and began assembling the Acura ILX and ILX Hybrid this spring.
The Acura ILX Hybrid is the first hybrid produced by Honda in North America.
The Indiana plant launched a second production shift last fall and now employs about 2,000 people, Honda said.
Honda said its seven assembly plants in North America have been operating since late 2011 at or above full straight-time capacity, or 1.63 million vehicles annually.
In addition to expanded output at the Indiana plant, Honda's factory in Marysville, Ohio, resumed second-shift output on Line 1 late last year.
This fall, Honda will boost capacity by 40,000 units to 340,000 light trucks a year at its plant in Lincoln, Ala.
The moves will increase Honda's North American auto production capacity to 1.72 million units a year as the company looks to boost North American exports as well. Honda is expected to export about 100,000 vehicles from North America this year, and it hopes to double that capacity in coming years.
The automaker's production capacity in the region will reach 1.92 million units when Honda begins building the Fit subcompact in Mexico in 2014.
American Honda Motor Co.-- hobbled by inventory shortages for most of 2011 after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan -- has seen its sales rebound 15 percent this year in a market that has also advanced 15 percent.
Honda said the Indiana expansion will allow greater flexibility to adjust production and model mix at other plants in North America.
The Civic also is manufactured in Alliston, Ontario, along with the CR-V and the Acura MDX and ZDX.
Through June, American Honda sold 4,894 Civic Hybrids, down from 5,660 vehicles through June 2011.
Overall, U.S. sales of the Civic have climbed 27 percent this year to 162,582 units — making it the second most popular car after the Toyota Camry.
Philip Nussel, David Phillips, Joe Lichterman, and Nick Bunkley contributed to this report.