Honda Cutting North American Production Again

Automaker is lowering production by another 119,000 vehicles, bringing anticipated production for its fiscal year ending March 31 to 1.3 million cars and light trucks.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Honda Motor Co. said Friday it will further cut vehicle production in North America as it adjusts to plunging automobile demand, including cuts of 58,000 at Ohio assembly plants in Marysville and East Liberty.

It will be Honda's largest production cut in Ohio since the automaker began producing vehicles in the state in 1979, spokesman Ron Lietzke said. No layoffs are planned. Employees at the plants will be given other tasks, can take paid vacation time, or take time off without pay.

Honda is lowering overall production in North America by 119,000 vehicles, bringing anticipated production for its fiscal year ending March 31 to 1.3 million cars and light trucks. That's on top of a production cut of 56,000 vehicles this fiscal year.

Honda, the second-largest Japanese automaker, has been hurt by the global auto industry downturn, a product of slowing economic growth and tight credit markets around the world. Earlier this month, the automaker said its U.S. sales fell 32 percent in November and 5 percent for the first 11 months of the year.

The company's other production cuts include 18,000 vehicles at Honda's plant in Lincoln, Ala.; 37,000 vehicles at its operations in Alliston, Canada; and 6,000 vehicles at its recently opened plant in Greensburg, Ind.

Production at the Marysville and East Liberty plants will be reduced beginning Jan. 5. There will also be production cuts at Honda's engine plant in Anna and its transmission plant in Russells Point, Lietzke said.

The production rate at Marysville, which makes the Honda Accord, Acura TL and Acura RDX, will be reduced by 39,000 vehicles. The rate at East Liberty, which produces the Civic and Element, will be cut by 19,000 vehicles.

The Marysville plant currently produces about 1,800 vehicles a day, while the East Liberty plant churns out 950 daily. Under those production rates, the two plants would produce about 170,000 vehicles from January through March.

Lietzke said the automaker will schedule several non-production days and reduce the production rate on production days. For example, there will be up to seven non-production days in January at the two assembly plants, reducing what would normally be 20 production days to 13.

About 5,250 workers are employed at the Marysville plant and 2,500 at East Liberty. The Anna plant employs 2,750; Russells Point, 1,050.

Honda and other foreign automakers have not been immune to the collapse in car demand in the United States. Honda reported its sales fell about 32 percent in November.

Honda said its reduced production figure is still its fourth highest production in 27 years of vehicle building in North America. Honda builds cars and parts in eight plants in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

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