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Production of New Honda SUT Model to Begin in Canada in 2005
 Date: January 04, 2004 15:35
 Submitted by:  Tuan
 Source: Honda Press Release
 Credibility Rating: N/A


All Odyssey Production Shifting to Alabama in Fall 2004

Detroit, Mich. 01/04/2004 -- A production version of the Honda SUT concept that debuted at the 2004 North American International Auto Show will be produced at Honda of Canada Mfg. (HCM) in Alliston, Ontario, in 2005. To make room for the new model, all production of Honda's popular Odyssey minivan at HCM's No. 2 line will shift to Honda Manufacturing of Alabama (HMA) in Lincoln, Alabama with the production start-up of the all-new '05 Odyssey in fall 2004.

HCM launched the Honda Odyssey, Acura MDX and Honda Pilot into production. With the move of Odyssey to HMA, the Canadian plant's No. 2 line will retain its three light truck model responsibility with the addition of the new SUT model.

HMA's newly built No. 2 production line in Alabama will start mass production in April 2004, with the Honda Pilot. With this start-up, the Honda Pilot will become a dual-sourced model, produced at HCM and HMA, providing flexibility for the production model mix at the two plants.

The original assembly line at HMA, which opened in November 2001, will begin production of the all-new '05 Odyssey in fall 2004, the first full model change for the plant. The all-new Odyssey will also be introduced on the new No. 2 line during the '05 model year. As the sole manufacturing source of the all-new Odyssey, HMA will have the flexible production capability to allow quick response to any changes in customer needs by maintaining a volume mix of two models on two lines.

"We will soon have the capability to produce light trucks flexibly among three production lines at two plants in Alabama and Canada," said Koki Hirashima, President of Honda of America Mfg. (HAM), who is also responsible for Honda's manufacturing operations in North America. "This will further enhance our ability to respond more flexibly and quickly to the needs of our customers."

The new SUT model will become the sixth light truck model for Honda and Acura - joining the Honda Odyssey, CR-V, Pilot, Element and Acura MDX.

Honda currently has an annual North American production capacity of 1.25 million automobiles and light trucks at its five auto plants in Ohio, Alabama, Canada and El Salto, Mexico - supplying more than 75 percent of the Honda and Acura vehicles sold annually in North America. The production capacity will grow to 1.4 million units with the second line in Alabama.

In April 2001, Honda produced its 10 millionth vehicle in North America, since becoming the first Japanese auto company to produce cars in America in 1982, at Honda of America Mfg.'s (HAM) Marysville, Ohio auto plant. In September 2004, Honda will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the start-up of its first manufacturing operation in America - the HAM motorcycle plant in 1979.

Honda began operations in North America in 1959 with the establishment of American Honda Motor Co., Honda's first overseas subsidiary. In North America, Honda currently develops products at three major U.S. R&D centers, manufactures products in 11 manufacturing plants using domestic and globally-sourced parts, and markets for North America and other countries in the world.

With its diverse line-up of automobiles and light trucks -- motorcycles, ATVs and personal watercrafts -- and power equipment products, Honda is the world's largest producer of engines, with more than 16.5 million annual customers globally.
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  limited production again?
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