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Honda Malaysia has officiated its No. 2 Line at its Pegoh plant in Melaka. Occupying a built-up area of 49,190 square metres, the new line doubles the plant’s total production capacity from the current 50,000 to 100,000 units per year, and from 200 to 400 units daily.

The No. 2 Line, into which a total of RM382 million was invested, began production in November 2013. Like Honda’s Yorii plant at the Saitama Factory in Japan, the line specialises in “small models” and their hybrid variants. This leaves production of the current City, Civic, CR-V and Accord to the No. 1 Line, which has been operational since January 2003.

The new line currently builds the second-gen Jazz petrol and Jazz Hybrid, but it follows that in the future, the new City, the Vezel crossover and the third-gen Jazz (along with their hybrid counterparts) may be built here too. The line produces about 105 cars over one shift a day at present, but another shift is set to be added in the future.

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In line with NAP 2014‘s known aim to make Malaysia an Energy-Efficient Vehicle production hub for the region, exports out of the Pegoh plant could also happen in the future. The addition of the No. 2 Line brings the total area of the Pegoh plant to around 96,000 square metres, and 700 new associates are expected to come on board.

The No. 2 Line introduces a number of new technologies from the Yorii plant, including an automated Smart Welding Machine (the first outside of Japan), an advanced paint facility incorporating wall-mounted Spray Robots, Under Body Coating and continuous body dipping, and an enhanced Multi Driving Tester (MDT).

The MDT, situated at the Vehicle Quality section near the end of the line, involves four-wheel rollers on which a vehicle’s brakes and speedometer are put to the test. It can even check a hybrid’s IMA system and battery condition. Moreover, the MDT’s rollers are regenerative – on deceleration, they generate electricity to be fed back to the plant.

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Healthier and more eco-friendly waterborne paints are set to replace the current solvent-based paints for vehicle bodies in the future, while high-efficiency equipment, lean processes, the use of natural lighting and solar energy contribute to help Honda realise its global environmental target of a 30% cut in CO2 emissions by 2020.

Honda Malaysia has enhanced its overall operations over the past few years with a new parts warehouse, a 2.15-km test track facility, an R&D facility and a new pre-delivery inspection centre. It also recently switched to rail transport for delivery of parts between Thailand and Malaysia.

“We have set our mid-term plan to make additional investments of RM1 billion in three years starting in 2012, to the manufacturing and sales network,” said Honda Malaysia CEO Yoichiro Ueno. “This investment is crucial in strengthening our operations in order to meet our mid-term goal of achieving 100,000 units sales by 2016.”

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According to Ueno, Honda Malaysia targets to sell 76,000 cars in 2014 – about 40% more than it did last year. It also aims to increase parts localisation from 30-40% previously to over 70% in the near future, and the number of dealers in Malaysia from the current 70 to 90 by 2015. As of December 2013, the company has cumulatively sold more than 22,000 hybrids in Malaysia.

A total of around 600,000 Honda vehicles were delivered to Asia and Oceania last year, revealed Asian Honda Motor CEO Hiroshi Kobayashi, who was also there at the ceremony. This is targeted to double to 1.2 million units in those regions by 2016.