November 6, 2014 / 4:28 PM / in 4 years

Honda Canada to invest C$857 mln in Ontario plants

TORONTO, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Honda Motor Co Ltd’s Canadian division said on Thursday it will invest C$857 million ($749.98 million) over three years to upgrade manufacturing plants in Alliston, Ontario, which will be the global lead for production of the next-generation Honda Civic.

Under the investment plan, which includes a conditional grant of up to C$85.7 million from the province of Ontario, the plant will develop manufacturing processes and tooling trials for worldwide Honda plants that build the next Civic model.

“This marks the first time a Honda plant outside Japan has been designated as a ‘global lead plant,’” Jerry Chenkin, the chief executive of Honda Canada Inc, said in a statement.

The Civic has been Canada’s top-selling passenger car for the past 16 years, the company said.

The investment, by Honda of Canada Manufacturing, will also go toward technologies and processes to modernize the site’s two auto assembly plants and one engine plant, the company said.

The plan comes weeks after Ford Motor Co rejected a pitch to make a new investment in Windsor, Ontario, plants and decided to put its money into Mexico, as originally planned, the head of Canada’s main auto workers union told Reuters.

Honda’s Canadian manufacturing operations can produce up to 390,000 Civic and CR-V models, and 240,000 four-cylinder engines annually.

The investment brings Honda’s total Canadian manufacturing spending to over C$3.9 billion since 1986, when Honda became the first Japanese automaker to build a manufacturing facility in Canada. (1 US dollar = 1.1427 Canadian dollar) (Reporting by Susan Taylor; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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