Honda Motor Co. said Tuesday it has completed rationalization of its auto production at its plant in Suzuka, Mie Prefecture, which will shorten by more than 30 percent the average time it takes to assemble automobiles.

Workers at Honda Motor Co.’s plant in Suzuka, Mie Prefecture, work on an assembly line that officials say can now handle eight vehicles at once, instead of five.

The greater efficiency was achieved at new production lines at the plant, where compact cars such as Civics are assembled.

For a five-door Civic car, for example, assembly used to take 1.3 days. The figure is now 0.8 day.

Capital spending required for a new model will also be cut by 50 percent, the automaker said.

In addition, a single production line can now deal with assembling jobs of eight different car models, up from five, it said.

Honda said it plans to carry out the same rationalization at plants for the new Civic cars in the United States, Canada and Britain by the end of this year and at other plants by 2003.

BMW brings first SUV

BMW will market in Japan its first sport utility vehicle Sunday, according to a Japanese unit of the German automaker.

The X5 4.4i, a four-wheel drive, 4,400cc vehicle, was released in the United States at the end of last year and in Europe in May this year, BMW Japan Corp. said.

The five-door, five-seat vehicle is priced at 8.35 million yen.

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