The strong yen is affecting all Japanese automakers that are exporting their locally produced cars to America. Honda is one of them, as of the 72,000 CR-Vs built last year in Japan, 35,000 made their way to North America. Japan’s third largest automaker wants to invest in its North American plants to increase the number of CR-V it builds here and reduce exports from Japan, thus minimizing losses due to exchange rates.
“Our profit structure has improved mainly thanks to robust overseas operations, and the toughest area remains exports from Japan”, Chief Financial Officer Yoichi Hojo told reporters at Honda's headquarters on Wednesday. “With a little investment, we would be able to increase production of the CR-V in the United States, so that's the most probable course of action (to reduce yen exposure)”, he said.
The company official said that Honda is currently examining various options to increase the crossover’s production. One of the factories that builds the CR-V, the East Liberty plant, in Ohio, is already operating at full capacity, but the neighboring Marysville plant is at 80%, while a factory in Indiana is working at half of its total capacity.
Should the need arise, Honda could also increase the output of its Mexican and Canadian plants.
In the future, the automaker also plans to use more components sourced from low-cost countries, such as China and India.
According to Yoichi Hojo, low-cost components will account for at least 10% of the upcoming 2012 Civic, a major improvement considering that the current generation uses very few if any low cost parts. The same ratio is at 17% in the case of the Fit subcompact, but Honda is aiming for about 30%.
By Csaba Daradics