Honda’s Manufacturing Situation Is a Complete Mess Right Now

COVID-19 and semiconductor shortages continue wreaking havoc on new car production for Honda.

byStef Schrader|
2023 Honda Civic Type R
2023 Honda Civic Type R.

Honda will scale back its production plans by as much as 40% at its Japanese plants starting early in September, signifying that their ongoing production woes aren't close to being over. the Financial Post reported. Honda announced the cuts Thursday and blamed some of 2022's usual suspects: persistent logistics and supply chain woes due to the COVID-19 pandemic and semiconductor shortage. 

Per the Financial Post, Honda's Saitama assembly plant will cut production by about 40% in early September, with two lines at Honda's Suzuka plant reducing production by about 30% in the same timeframe. For the rest of the month, Saitama's output would stay cut by 10% and Suzuka's production would be cut back by 30%. 

The news deals strictly with the Japanese Honda plants, which produce everything from the Civic Type R to JDM gems like the Stepwgn minivan. Most of what's sold in North America is made locally, save for a few models like the Civic Type R and Clarity. Fortunately, Honda EVP of Business and Sales for American Honda Motor Company Dave Gardiner told The Drive that he's more optimistic about production lines in North America being able to keep running at full speed. 

"I would not be being truthful with you if I said we're completely out of the woods. Because as every week goes by, you know, we get another curveball thrown at us," Gardiner told The Drive. "But what I can tell you from Honda's perspective is that we are making all the necessary steps for the second half of our fiscal year, which starts October 1, to be able to produce as close to capacity in our North American factories as we can."

Still, it's clear from Gardiner's comments that Honda production is still in a precarious place.

Honda's production cutbacks come at a time when other Japanese automakers are proceeding with cautious optimism about the chip shortage returning to normal. Toyota, for example, claims that it's still on target to improve its sales and production outlook through the end of the current financial year. According to the Financial Post, Toyota claims they're on target to produce a record 9.7 million vehicles globally for the financial year ending in March 2023, 850,000 of which they expect to make in September. 

The chip shortage already resulted in 2.2 million fewer cars being built in the earlier half of the year, so it will be interesting to see whose production predictions are right. 

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