Honda Adding Capacity in Indiana

When the current, ninth-generation Honda Civic was launched, it quickly ran into some criticism from the likes of Consumer Reports and from an array of auto writers.

When the current, ninth-generation Honda Civic was launched, it quickly ran into some criticism from the likes of Consumer Reports and from an array of auto writers. In the case of the former, it was largely about the ride and handling, and in the case of the latter, it was mainly about the quality of the interior materials.

It seemed as though the Civic was destined to become something less than a resounding success by any measure.

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Despite the effects of the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster in Japan and flooding in Thailand (yes, the Civics are produced in North America (as in Canada and the U.S.), but the supply chain is a global one, so the effects reverberate throughout the system), Honda sold 221,235 Civics in 2011, which was down from the 260,218 compared with 2010, and which had it fall-off the top 10 list of vehicle sales for 2011.

Still, it seems as though the people at Honda, not known to be particularly starry-eyed, are more than a little optimistic about the prospects for the Civic.

This week Honda announced a $40-million investment in the Honda Manufacturing of Indiana plant to increase its capacity from 200,000 units per year to 250,000 per year. The additional capacity will start up next year. They’re even adding 300 jobs at the facility (which you can apply for by going here).

Presently they’re building the Civic Sedan, Civic Natural Gas, and the Acura ILX (including the hybrid version) at the plant. The Civic Hybrid will be added to the mix with the expansion.

Which brings up another thought: several publications have been more than slightly critical of the Acura ILX—the hybrid, in particular—as well. And everyone knows that small cars and hybrids aren’t nearly as compelling as larger vehicles with bigger engines, right?

Apparently the market and product planners at Honda seem to know a bit more.