YORII, Japan -- Honda Motor Co.'s newest assembly plant was seven years in the making, twice delayed and may be the last greenfield car factory in Japan for a long time.
But the Yorii factory, nestled in rolling green foothills just north of Tokyo as part of Honda's Saitama assembly complex, provides a look at the next-generation manufacturing technologies Honda aims to transfer to its overseas factories.
The factory, which opened in July with annual capacity to make 250,000 vehicles, specializes in small cars based on the Fit platform. It bustles with hyperefficient machinery that shaves cost and time from Honda's already lean manufacturing process.
Yorii makes the new-generation Fit hatchback and will soon produce a Fit-based compact crossover that will go on sale next month in Japan and eventually in America.