It looks like the March 11 earthquake isn’t the only thing impacting product planning in Japan: fluctuating Yen/Dollar exchange rates may be the driving force behind a decision to build the Acura MDX in Alabama.
The move in MDX production – which is currently in Ontario, Canada – comes as Honda has made the decision to shift some production of the CR-V crossover from Japan to Ontario, as early as January of next year. Why move the CR-V production to Canada? Simply put, it’s increasingly difficult to make a CR-V profitable as the dollar’s value falls against the yen. The CR-V is currently also being made at plants in Ohio and Mexico.
Honda producing the CR-V in Ontario means that it will push that production line’s current product, the Acura MDX crossover, somewhere else. According to Reuters, that somewhere else is Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, its domestic production plant in Lincoln, Alabama, which currently makes about 300,000 Odysseys, Pilots, and Ridgelines per year, which share platform and mechanicals with the MDX. Reuters says that Honda will invest about $300 million to produce the MDX at the plant and increase output from 300,000 to 340,000 per year.
With plans now announced to move the MDX’s production, the next question is exactly which MDX it will make. Considering that the current generation of MDX is about five years old, we wouldn’t be surprised if the Alabama plant will deliver a new version of popular SUV. Granted, Honda has confirmed none of this, so we’ll have to wait and see if the A-badged high rider will get updates when it moves homes next year.