Mexico – Honda has started construction of a $470m transmission plant in Celaya adjacent to the new $800m vehicle plant which will begin mass production of the 2015 Honda Fit early next year.

The facility will support Honda de Mexico (HDM) car production and also provide transmissions to Honda plants outside Mexico. The transmissions to be produced will be part of Honda’s Earth Dreams Technology series.

The transmission plant will begin making continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) in the second half of 2015, with an initial capacity of 350,000 units per year; Honda intends to boost production to 700,000 per annum over the coming years.

The OEM expects the increase in capacity to boost its Celaya workforce to 1,500 ‘associates’ initially, with growth to 4,700 when the vehicle, engine and transmission plants are in full operation.

At the foundation ceremony, Tetsuo Iwamura, COO of Honda North American Regional Operations, promised: “With the growing skills of our new associates in Mexico we are establishing a new production base that will achieve outstanding global competitiveness.”