Honda has started manufacturing its 2015 Fit model (known as the Jazz) at a new, technologically advance plant in Mexico.
The carmaker says the new plant will help it meet demand for its popular compact car in the North America, where the latest generation model is due to launch this spring.
The new Celaya Plant will help the carmaker increase its production capacity to around 1.92 million units a year, enabling the brand to produce more than 95 per cent of all the cars it sells in the US in North America; reducing the need to import cars. The plant is expected to produce 200,000 Fit cars a year.
Located in Celaya, Guanajuato, the $800 million plant will employ 3,200 associates with an annual capacity of 200,000 vehicles and engines when it reaches full production later this year.
In addition to the 2015 Honda Fit, the plant will begin production of an all-new compact SUV, later this year.
As for the new Fit itself, due to arrive in US dealers within the next couple of months; it is slightly shorter (by 4.1cm) and wider (by 0.8cm) with a longer wheelbase (by 3cm) than the outgoing model for better manoeuvrability.
The new model is also more efficient, thanks to a new direct-injection petrol engine which becomes the sole engine choice. The new 1.5 litre i-VTEC engine delivers 130hp at 6,500rpm and 114lb/ft of torque; an increase of 13 hp and 8lb/ft of torque over the old engine. Despite the increase in power, the model improves fuel economy; expected to be rated by EPA as achieving 36mpg on a combined cycle (compared to a max of 31mpg on the old model).
Still recognisable as a Jazz, the new model looks less angular and more streamlined while a new lightweight and more rigid platform will help improve ride quality and increase miles to the gallon.
Inside, the car features a unique, swivelling front passenger seat called Magic Seat which makes it easier to get in and out of the car - something that will appeal to the Jazz’s core audience of mature drivers.
A new Jazz model for Europe, based on the Fit is not expected to arrive here until 2015.
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