Despite the lowest inventories of Honda Civics in a year, Honda Manufacturing of Indiana has begun shipping 2010 Civic sedans to Mexico, 22 Latin American and Caribbean nations, and the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, and Saipan.
On Sept. 15, the first batch of 290 Civics destined for export left the Greensburg, Ind., factory by rail for Mexico. Until now, the nearly 52,000 Civics built at Greensburg had been sold in the United States, Honda said in a statement.
"This is another step in our growth," said Rick Schostek, Honda Manufacturing of Indiana vice president. "The United States remains the primary market for our Indiana-built Civics," he said.
Honda spokesman Ed Miller said exporting vehicles from Indiana "was in the plan originally." He characterized Honda's policy on exports from North America as "filling in gaps" to supply specific models in certain markets.
The $550-million Greensburg plant eventually will have capacity to build about 200,000 vehicles a year. The ramp-up to full production has been slowed by the recession. At one point Honda hoped to have the factory operating on two shifts by year end, but that seems unlikely.
In August, the plant built a little less than 8,000 Civics, Miller said. Greensburg's one-shift capacity is 100,000 a year.
On Sept. 1, Honda's U.S. inventory of Civics was about 35,000 units or a 21-day supply, according to the Automotive News Data Center. That was down from a 44-day supply Aug. 1. In part, the drop reflects the Civic's popularity in the cash-for-clunkers program.
The Civic was the second-most-popular purchase in the cash-for-clunkers program after the Toyota Corolla, with sales of 28,456.
The Greensburg plant began producing Civics on Oct. 9, 2008. Honda also builds Civics on two lines at its assembly complex in Alliston, Ontario.
From its other North American factories, Honda also exports the Accord coupe, Pilot crossover, Odyssey minivan, and Acura TL sedan.
(Source: Automotive News)