Honda counts on lean production for hybrid Fit

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

YORII, Japan (AP) — Honda is making a big push with its new Fit subcompact to get out of being the perennial also-ran of hybrid cars to Japanese rival Toyota, the maker of the Prius.

It's a challenge hinged on making the technology affordable. Hybrids deliver fuel efficiency by switching between a gas engine and an electric motor, depending on driving conditions, but cost more than gasoline cares.

Honda's answer: Lean production.

At the sparkling clean Yorii factory, which opened earlier this year in Saitama Prefecture, Honda makes the Fit with faster stamping time, fewer robots and reduced paint coats.

This reduces energy consumption, making for lower costs and greener production.