Honda adding 1,000-worker shift at Greensburg plant

Honda is set to start up a second production shift this month at a factory in southeastern Indiana that builds the Civic sedan and its alternative-fuel counterpart.

The new shift is scheduled to begin at the Greensburg factory on Oct. 24, a move Honda officials say will double the plant's workforce and its annual production to 200,000 vehicles.

Factory spokeswoman Anita Sipes said Wednesday that nearly 1,000 new workers had been hired in phases over the last couple of months.

"They are all right now training on the line, learning their processes," Sipes told The Associated Press. "On the 24th, the shifts will split and we'll be building double."

Honda announced plans in May for starting the additional shift in Greensburg by year's end. The company said it had expected that production level since the factory opened in 2008 in the city about 40 miles southeast of Indianapolis, but that those plans were delayed by the recession.

Honda Motor Co. cut production in half at the Greensburg plant and elsewhere after the March tsunami that struck Japan interrupted the flow of auto parts to its U.S. factories. Sipes said the Greensburg factory returned to full production in September and that no workers were laid off during the slow-down period.

The increased output will include additional production of the Civic Natural Gas, formerly the Civic GX. The Greensburg plant began mass production of the 2012 model on Tuesday and it is the only place in the world where Honda is building that vehicle, using engines from the company's plant in Anna, Ohio.

Sipes declined to say how many alternative-fuel Civics are expected to be built at the factory, but said it would be about four times more than before. The company said it is expanding from 72 Honda dealers in four states selling the natural-gas model to nearly 200 dealers in 36 states.

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