Honda ZEST and Honda Accord
Click to enlarge

Honda is expanding its mini-vehicle production lines in Japan, and will build a new plant next to its Yokkaichi Factory in Japan. The new plant will produce both engines and bodies for the Honda Life and Honda ZEST, while the existing Yokkaichi Factory will continue building the mid-engined Honda Acty and Honda Vamos K-vans.

The combined capacity of the two plants in the new minicar production system will be approximately 240,000 units, which is almost the same as the current capacity. The new plant will be built by Yachiyo Industry Co. Ltd and will feature a highly efficient and high quality production system that focuses on the Life and ZEST thanks to efficiencies gained by separating the FF and MR car productions.

In the existing setup, engines and transmissions come from Honda’s Kumamoto factory, but in the new system the engines will come from the new factory itself, with transmissions coming from Honda’s Suzuka factory. This is why the capacity of the old and new system remains about the same, but the new system will be more efficient.

I had the opportunity to drive the Honda ZEST (shown above with the new Accord) in Japan and came away pleasantly surprised. It was a refined drive and unlike the small cars we have in Malaysia, did not feel cheap at all.

The 660cc i-DSI turbocharged engine was lag-less, and having not much knowledge about the ZEST (being a JDM market car) before and during my drive, I was surprised when I was told it was a 660cc turbo afterwards. A 64 PS engine with 93Nm of torque in a 930kg car with decent interior room sounds like a good idea for a city car.