Honda fires up flood-hit Thai plant


Honda Motor Co. restarted production at its four-wheel vehicle plant in Thailand on Monday after massive flooding last year crippled the automaker’s output for 5½ months.

The move marked the return of all of Japan’s top automakers to business as usual in Thailand.

Honda suspended the plant on Oct. 4 after it was flooded by water as high as 2 to 3 meters.

When coupled with the impact of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan last year, the plant’s output had to be slashed to 103,000 units in 2011, down nearly 40 percent from 170,000 units the year before.

The plant’s annual production capability is 240,000 units.

While other automakers have been hit by supply chain disruptions, Honda was the only one of the major Japanese automakers in the country to be directly hit by the flooding.

Honda is scheduled to celebrate the restart with President Takanobu Ito and Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra at a ceremony Saturday.