Nissan and Honda plant to consolidate some production in Japan in order to improve productivity, reduce costs and better compete in the tough home market.

According to Dow Jones, Nissan said it aims to improve efficiency by consolidating production of similar models – the move is in line with the Japanese carmaker’s efforts to cut costs since company president Carlos Ghosn stepped in to turn it around in 1999.

Honda also reportedly said it would go ahead with plans to integrate domestic production of small-volume models in May.

Dow Jones said Nissan, 44% owned by Renault, is seeking to make its Yokosuka plant in Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo, its base for small vehicle production and will also have a plant in Fukuoka Prefecture, southern Japan, specialising in midsize vehicles with front-wheel drive.

A Nissan spokeswoman told the news agency her company plans to launch small car and minivan models later this year, but it has not decided where these models would be produced.

Citing the Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper, Dow Jones said Nissan will fully redesign its Sunny subcompact in the second half of this year and move production to Yokosuka from Fukuoka.

The newspaper also reported the company will redesign its Liberty minivan in the second half of 2004 and move production to Fukuoka.

Honda said it would transfer production of its NSX and S2000 sports cars and the Insight petrol-electric hybrid car to its plant in Mie Prefecture, central Japan, from its plant in Tochigi Prefecture, north of Tokyo, Dow Jones added.