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Honda boosts Nigeria’s auto industry

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Japan’s third-biggest auto maker, Honda Motor Company has said it is retooling part of its factory that previously made motorcycles in Nigeria to now build its cars, with plans to produce 1,000 of its Accord Sedans annually at the plant.

New chief executive of the firm, Takahiro Hachigo, said in Tokyo on Monday at his first news conference since taking over in June, that the plant which began production this month, would service other African countries.

According to him, the company would boost the number of cars produced by the Nigerian factory if the local market grows.

Hachigo also said Honda has no plans for now to provide financial aid to Takata Corp, the air bag supplier at the centre of a costly global air bag recall.

However, Hachigo said Honda had set aside enough to cover the cost of recalling over two million cars with potentially faulty air bag parts made by Takata.

“We have money budgeted for quality-related costs, as we did last year, and we think we can respond within this allocated amount,” Hachigo told journalists.

Read also: Safety concerns at Honda mounts

Last month, Honda revised its operating profit for the year ended March, to 606.88 billion yen ($4.92 billion) from the 651.68 billion yen it reported in April to account for expanded recall costs.

Hachigo’s predecessor Takanobu Ito and other executives took a pay cut last October, following a fifth recall of its Fit hybrid subcompact in a year, which had quality glitches unrelated to Takata-made inflators.

As Hachigo seeks to develop business, he said the company remained open to alliances with other automakers – as long as such tie-ups were of benefit to Honda.

In one such deals, the Japanese firm already has an alliance with General Motors Co, to develop hydrogen fuel-cell technology.

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