The Honda Motor Company appears ready to enter another chapter of its automotive story. The Japanese conglomerate has wound down operations for its "mother plant" in Sayama, Japan.
The move is part of a corporate restructuring that has seen Honda cut its domestic auto production to a little over 800,000 vehicles per year. That figure is down about 40 percent from the company's peak output in 2002. Notably, Honda has committed to electrifying its entire vehicle lineup by 2040. It has even introduced a new collection of electric vehicles (EVs) under the e:N Series name.
Near the end of 2021, Honda held a "line-off ceremony" at the Sayama plant to commemorate the plant's history and mark the end of production of finished vehicles. Company president Toshihiro Mibe appeared nostalgic as he attended the event in an old Honda. Mibe recalled his experience at the iconic plant where he sought mentorship as a young engineer.
Honda's Sayama Plant opened in 1964 as the brand started to gain fans in overseas markets. The factory is located in Saitama Prefecture, just Northwest of Tokyo. It helped introduce beloved nameplates like the Civic and Accord, which are still in production today.
For now, the Sayama plant will remain open as it continues parts production, but a permanent closure will happen within two to three years. Most of the plant's operations will carry over to Honda's Yorii plant, also in Saitama Prefecture. Many retrenched workers will find new jobs at the Yorii plant and other Honda factories. It's not immediately clear what the company plans to do with the Sayama plant after its closure.
How could this affect Honda's local operations? That isn't readily apparent, but a shift in the company's priorities indicates we'll be seeing less of its combustion engines in the future. Although Honda Philippines has yet to field an all-electric or even a hybrid model, we're guessing it's only a matter of time.