Honda made a boatload of bold announcements this morning. First, they are targeting 2009 as the release date for a new hybrid vehicle with a cost significantly below the Civic Hybrid available now. They will target sales of 100,000 in North America and 200,000 worldwide per year. The cars will be made at a plant in Suzuka, Japan.
Japan has a successful diesel engine for small vehicles in Europe, but it has yet to hit North America. The company has pledged to deliver a 4 cylinder direct injection diesel engine that will meet stringent EPA standards within 3 years. This will be a part of their new pledge to increase their already industry leading Corporate Average Fuel Economy of 29.2 mpg by 5% for 2010.
The company also announced a huge investment in North American factories. They will be building a $400 million U.S. assembly plant ready for 2008 and a $140 million engine plant in Canada. They will also spend $125 million to upgrade existing facilities in Georgia and Ohio. All told, the investments will create 1,920 new jobs and increase production from 1.4 million units to 1.6 million units in North America.