Honda Motor Corp. has revealed that it will be opening a new manufacturing plant in the small town of Yorii, Saitama prefecture, about two hours from Tokyo, making it the car company’s first factory in Japan in nearly 50 years. While, Honda, along with the other big auto maker Toyota and Nissan, have been looking to move their export-bound manufacturing to countries like Mexico and Thailand, it appears the company is taking advantage of the rapidly weakening yen to increase domestic production.
The Accord and CR-V maker says the Yorii plant will have an annual capacity of 250,000 vehicles, and will focus on using efficient technology to produce compact models, like the popular Fit. The town’s local government believes Honda’s factory will create 3,800 new jobs by the fiscal 2017 year. The auto maker says the decision to build a new plant at home came from domestic reorganization plans and the need to reduce the load at the Sayama factory, also in Saitama Prefecture. That facility was the last to be built in Japan by Honda, opening its doors in 1964.
The Yorii factory will officially start producing cars in July of this year. The opening comes across as slightly odd, as over the last year Japan’s big three automakers, Toyota, Nissan, and Honda, have all announced new overseas factories to focus on models for export in an attempt to combat the strong yen. According to Bloomberg, Honda’s manufacturing plants outside of Japan make up nearly 75% of the company’s annual output. Honda’s latest North American plant, located in Mexico, will be producing the Fit models to be sold in the U.S.