Honda Plans Model for Younger Buyers

Wednesday, January 23rd 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TOKYO (AP) _ Honda Motor Co. will produce a new vehicle designed for younger buyers, known as Model X, at its East Liberty plant in Ohio by the end of this year, the company said Wednesday.

Honda will decide how many vehicles to manufacture at the plant after it completes market research, said spokesman Kaoru Tanaka. The vehicles will be marketed and sold only in the United States and Canada, he said.

The vehicle, which hasn't been named yet and is tentatively being called Model X, is expected to combine features of a pickup truck and a sport utility vehicle and cost less than $20,000.

It is based on the Civic frame, which is made at the East Liberty plant about 40 miles northwest of Columbus, Ohio. The plant produces the Civic Sedan, Civic Coupe and GX natural gas vehicles, Tanaka said. Last year it produced 236,029 vehicles.

The Model X idea was introduced last year in a concept car with doors that open from the center and an interior designed to accommodate people, mountain bikes, surfboards and other bulky sports equipment.

Honda spokeswoman Sharon VanWinkle said the company plans to shift some Civic production to other plants to accommodate assembly of the new truck. She said it hasn't been determined whether the company will need to supplement its 2,550 employees at the East Liberty plant.