Honda to Close ‘Mother Factory’ as it Moves to All-Electric Future

Honda is getting ready to switch off its engines as part of a radical restructuring leading to an all-electric future. The Japanese automaker has already cut its domestic auto production capacity to just over 800,000 vehicles a year, down by around 40% from its 2002 peak.

Most of the retrenchment has come by halting production of finished cars at its plant in Sayama, Saitama Prefecture, northwest of Tokyo, at the end of last year. Honda also announced other cost-cutting steps including adopting a new vehicle development system and pulling the plug on its Formula One racing program.

Honda mother factory

The company is retooling its manufacturing operations in line with its vision for the future. It has announced that it its entire lineup of cars will be electrified by 2040. On 27th December 2021, a “line-off ceremony” was held at the Sayama plant to mark the end to production of finished cars. While only a few executives attended the ceremony due to COVID-19 restrictions, the event was livestreamed to allow workers in different parts of the plant to watch the proceedings.

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Honda President Toshihiro Mibe while speaking to those present at the event, said:

“Like you, I will miss it [Sayama plant] all. However we will continue making automobiles that meet the needs of consumers at home and abroad.”

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The Sayama plant, which has been operational since 1964, rolled out cars that defined Honda, including the Civic, with its innovative low-emission engine, and the Accord, Honda’s flagship sedan. The facility will remain open for now, making parts, but will close completely in two to three years. Its operations will be transferred to Honda’s Yorii plant, also in Saitama, to lower Honda’s fixed costs and raise operating rates. Many of the workers from the Sayama plant will be reassigned to Yorii and elsewhere. The company has yet to decide what to do with the site after the Sayama plant shuts down

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