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Honda Aircraft Delays Production Of New Business Jet

Subsidiary of Honda Motor is postponing initial deliveries of its new $4 million HondaJet and won't break ground on its North Carolina factory until late this summer.

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) -- Honda Aircraft Co. said it will postpone its first deliveries of its new $3.9 million business jet by about a year to the fourth quarter of 2011 because recession-hit suppliers cannot meet previous timetables.

The Greensboro-based subsidiary of Honda Motor Company Ltd. said in a statement that jet production will be delayed due to "ongoing global aerospace industry business challenges (that) have resulted in a delay in receiving critical components."

Honda spokesman Stephen Keeney said Friday the production delay was forced on Honda as suppliers cope "with all of the challenges facing companies in light of the dramatic shifts in the worldwide economy." He declined to specify which component suppliers were facing delays.

The production delay also led Honda Aircraft to postpone groundbreaking of the jet's production plant at Greensboro's Piedmont Triad International Airport until late this summer, nine months later than originally expected, Keeney said. The company this week received an extension from the airport authority to Dec. 31, 2010, to complete construction of the plant.

Keeney said Honda still expects to invest more than $100 million and create more than 600 jobs once the plant reaches full production in late 2011.

Honda Aircraft began taking sales orders for its HondaJet in the U.S. in 2006, and last May in Europe. The company said there have been more than 100 orders for the aircraft, which had been scheduled for delivery in late 2010.

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