Honda Motor Co. plans to build a new plant in Mie Prefecture to boost production capacity of key components for its hybrid cars, company officials said Sunday.

The plant, scheduled to go onstream in 2008, will enable the automaker to quadruple annual output capacity for electric motors to 200,000 units, the officials said.

The facility is expected to cost about 8 billion yen and will be built on the grounds of Honda’s Suzuka factory. The buildup is in anticipation of the release of a small gasoline-electric hybrid model, they said.

Honda, which aims to sell 200,000 hybrids around the world annually by launching a new small hybrid in 2009, believes mass-production of key components will help trim the cost of the vehicles and reduce retail prices of its hybrid models, the officials said.

At present, Honda makes hybrid cars patterned after the Civic in Suzuka and those based on the Accord in Sayama, Saitama Prefecture. It sold some 50,000 last year.

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