(Reuters) - Honda Motor Co's Canadian unit will start manufacturing its CR-V compact sport-utility vehicle in Canada early next year, Japan's No. 3 automaker said on Thursday.
Honda will produce its new model 2012 CR-V destined for sale in Canada at its manufacturing plant in Alliston, Ontario, north of Toronto. Until now, CR-Vs for North America were built at the company's East Liberty plant in Ohio.
There will be no job cuts at the Ohio facility, which will continue to produce CR-Vs for the U.S. market, Honda Canada spokesman Richard Jacobs said.
Jacobs declined to say why Honda was shifting production to Canada but added that it was the company's long-standing practice to "build product in the markets that they sell them".
Some of the SUVs built in Canada will be exported to the United States, Jacobs said.
Honda has had a tough year worldwide in 2011. It first had to scale back production due to a shortage of parts following a devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan in March.
More recently, flooding in Thailand forced it to cut output again as it was unable to secure some critical electronic parts that it buys there.
The natural disasters have delayed the start of production of the CR-V in North America by about a month, Jacobs said.
Honda expects to sell more than 25,000 CR-Vs in Canada this year and is targeting sales of 30,000 of the new 2012 model next year, he said.
The Alliston plant, which already produces the Honda Civic sedan, Canada's most popular passenger car, hired 400 employees in the summer to gear up for the production of the CR-V.
The small SUV will be produced on the same assembly line as the Civic. Some equipment modifications have had to be made, Jacobs said.
Reporting by Nicole Mordant; editing by Rob Wilson