Honda to build auto plant in the Midwest

/ Source: The Associated Press

The $400 million plant that Honda Motor Co. plans to add in North America as part of a global expansion will employ 1,500 workers and be built in the Midwest by 2008, company officials said Wednesday.

Honda officials would not say which states are under consideration for the plant or when a decision will be made, other than the company is in the final stages of securing a site. Ohio and Indiana officials have said they are in the running for the site.

Earlier Wednesday, the automaker announced plans to build the new plant in the United States — its sixth in North America — as part of a sweeping $1.18 billion plan to meet soaring demand for its cars.

“We’d like to have it sooner rather than later,” Larry Jutte, a senior Honda vice president, said during a conference call with reporters. “We’re in the final phases of our due-diligence process for selection.”

Jutte said no decision has yet been made on what kind of vehicles the plant will produce.

Honda also plans to erect a new assembly factory in Japan and an engine plant in Canada. The three plants are aimed at meeting an ambitious 34 percent increase in annual sales to 4.5 million vehicles a year by 2010, Honda President and CEO Takeo Fukui said at a news conference in Tokyo.