Honda Automobile (Thailand), the country's second largest manufacturer and exporter of passenger cars, has begun production at its second plant adjacent to its existing plant in Ayutthaya province.

Honda has invested about THB6.2bn in the 150,000m2 facility employing an additional 2,200 workers and doubling annual capacity to 240,000 units.

Fumihiko Ike, president & CEO of Asian Honda Motor said: "With this second plant, our Thai operations advance to the next stage. This means not just providing high quality products to global markets.  Our operations here will enhance their responsibility as the leader plant in Asia to provide technical support to other plants across the region."

The new plant will make the Accord, Civic, CR-V, Jazz and City. The car off the line was an Accord.

This latest venture in Thailand takes the automaker's total investment in the country to over THB21bn, making Honda one of the country's top foreign investors. The first plant started manufacturing cars in 1996.

The investment in the new plant was driven by the growing demand for Honda vehicles in both domestic and export markets in the Asia/Oceania region.  Locally, Honda has sold about 64,000 vehicles in the year up to September, increasing its sales by 33% for the same nine-month period in 2007. Market share rose from 10.5% last year to 13.9%.

The facility in Thailand is the sixth largest in Honda's operations around the world after Japan, USA, China, Canada and the United Kingdom.

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