Honda Motor Co. plans to start a second shift at its Greensburg plant by the end of the year and will double its current work force by hiring up to 1,000 employees.
Plant spokeswoman Anita Sipes said Tuesday morning that the Japanese automaker plans to significantly ramp up production at its Decatur County plant about 50 miles southeast of Indianapolis.
She said the second shift has been planned since the factory opened in 2008 but the recession put those plans on hold. With the economic rebound, she said this seemed like a “natural time” to add the second shift.
“With everything that happened in Japan, with the earthquake, we need to be ready to meet customer demand,” she said.
The plant has been operating at half-capacity for a few months, Sipes said, following supply disruptions created by the huge earthquake and tsunami on March 11.
The Greensburg plant currently operates part of the day on Tuesdays and all day on Wednesdays and Thursdays, Sipes said.
The plant should be operating at full capacity by the end of the year, when Honda plans to begin increasing production to start the second shift, she said.
Employees were told about the plans last week.
At full capacity, Honda currently produces about 100,000 cars a year at the Greensburg plant. Sipes said the second shift will double that capacity to 200,000 vehicles a year.
The plant makes the Honda Civic sedan and the Honda Civic GX natural gas vehicle.
Marc Coplon, Decatur County director of economic development, welcomed Honda’s plans to increase production.
“We’re very, very glad to see things are going well with Honda, and possibly better than expected, with the tragedy that occurred in Japan.”
Demand has been rising for the Civic and other small cars as gas prices have hovered around $4 per gallon in the U.S.