Honda Motor has announced plans to adapt part of a motorcycle and transmissions plant first opened in 1954 to expand output of automatic and continuously variable transmissions.

The new factory will occupy a portion of the site where a motorcycle plant is currently located (motorcycle engine production will be moved to the Kumamoto factory in 2009).

The new plant will boost annual AT and CVT capacity at Hamamatsu from 700,000 units to 1.1m by 2010 after a YPY14bn spend.

Efficiency imporvements have already begun. Production processes for transmission gears, once spread around the factory, have been reorganised, and a synchronous production system has been introduced in machining.

Transmission assembly processes and logistics will also be scrutinised. A planned flexible production line will be capable of adjusting production of AT and CVT according to market demand.

"With the new plant, Honda will enhance the overall competitiveness of its transmission production," the automaker said.

Hamamatsu will continue as lead plant for other AT production plants in the US, Indonesia and China. This includes developing new production technologies for their eventual use.

Pro-environment features will include include rooftop planting, rainwater recycling and natural lighting.

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