Nov. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Honda Motor Co., Japan’s third- largest automaker, will spend $84 million and hire 100 more workers to expand production of light trucks and engines at its assembly plant in Alabama.
The investment will boost annual capacity for the Lincoln, Alabama, plant to 340,000 vehicles and engines by 2013 from 300,000 now, Honda said in a statement on its website late yesterday. The plant employs more than 4,000 people.
Asian automakers including Honda are expanding output capacity in North America as U.S. sales recover from a recession in 2008 and 2009. Demand for new cars and trucks grew 10 percent this year through October, and most companies and analysts are forecasting total sales of 12.5 million to 13 million vehicles in 2011.
“We’re confident in our associates’ ability to build the products Americans want,” Ed Miller, a Detroit-based Honda spokesman, said in a phone interview.
The Alabama plant, which opened in 2001, makes Odyssey minivans, Pilot sport-utility vehicles and Ridgeline pickups, and the six-cylinder engines they use. The investment is part of the Tokyo-based company’s plan to shift production of Acura MDX luxury SUVs to the factory, Honda said.
Separately, Honda said yesterday it will operate normal production shifts at plants in the U.S. and Canada on Dec. 1 and 2 as it continues to recover from shortages of parts from Thailand. Honda had to reduce output in North America this month because of shortages of parts from the Southeast Asian nation, where flooding shut down some suppliers.
The company can’t yet say all Thailand-related supply issues will be resolved next month, Miller said.
“Right now, we can’t announce anything beyond Dec. 2,” he said.
Honda’s U.S. headquarters are in Torrance, California.
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