Honda Motor Co., Ltd. last week announced that the company will evolve its automobile production system and capability to further enhance Mono-zukuri (the art of making things/manufacturing) in Japan. In more concrete terms, Honda will pursue two key initiatives: to evolve production operations in Japan and to newly establish a function to evolve production technologies in Japan to be shared globally.
Due to the rapid advance of new technologies such as electrification and intelligence technologies, the automobile industry is undergoing an unprecedented and significant turning point in its history. Anticipating major changes in automobile production, Honda will largely evolve its production operations in addition to product development operations.
Since its foundation, Honda has been establishing the technologies and know-how of Mono-zukuri in Japan and then evolving them rapidly to operations outside Japan, where each region applies its own originality and ingenuity at the spot. This is how Honda has achieved growth on a global basis. However, from here forward, automobile manufacturers must be able to accommodate new technologies speedily, and therefore it became essential for Honda to further evolve its production function in Japan and establish a structure where Japan operations will lead the other Honda operations on a global basis.
Based on this understanding of the situation, Honda will pursue the following initiatives.
- Evolving production operations in Japan
While leveraging the respective strengths of automobile production plants in Japan, Honda will establish a production system and capability which will enhance Honda’s competitiveness.
1) Saitama Factory:
In order to accommodate the production of vehicles equipped with new technologies such as electrified vehicles, the automobile production of the Sayama Automobile Plant and Yorii Automobile Plant will be consolidated to the Yorii Automobile Plant, which employs the latest production technologies. This consolidation is expected to be completed by around fiscal year 2022 (fiscal year ending March 31, 2022).
Production know-how involving new technologies will be amassed at the Yorii Automobile Plant and evolved from Japan, Honda’s Mono-zukuri leader, to Honda operations outside of Japan, which will establish a structure where Japan operations will lead other Honda operations on a global basis.
Associates who are currently working at Sayama Automobile Plant will be transferred mainly to the Yorii Automobile Plant and fully utilize the production know-how they have amassed in their career.
2) Suzuka Factory:
Suzuka Factory will continue to establish technologies and know-how for producing highly-competitive mini-vehicles and also continue to play a role to evolve such production technologies and know-how horizontally to other Honda operations on a global basis.
3) Yokkaichi Factory of Yachiyo Industry Co., Ltd. (Yachiyo)
Striving to further increase the efficiency of producing low-volume-production models, which Honda is currently entrusting to Yachiyo, Honda and Yachiyo today signed a basic agreement to begin discussion toward making Yachiyo’s automobile assembly business a wholly-owned subsidiary of Honda.
While leveraging the technologies and human resources amassed at Yachiyo, Honda will further increase efficiency by optimizing its low-volume production system and capability.
The two companies will continue to discuss more details, such as the scope of Yachiyo business Honda will take over, and strive to reach a final agreement.