Dongfeng Honda Automobile Co. Ltd., a Chinese joint venture between Honda Motor Co. Ltd. and Dongfeng Motor Group Co. Ltd., completes its expansion, quadrupling annual capacity.

Dongfeng Honda now can build 120,000 units annually at its Wuhan, Hubei province, vehicle-assembly plant, up from 30,000 previously.

The construction project, begun Jan. 24, 2005, was completed in a year, about half the anticipated timeframe, Honda says.

As part of the RMB2.8 billion ($348.2 million) expansion, the existing plant’s layout was changed, a new paint facility was built and stamping and plastic injection-molding processes were added, Honda says.

The plant was built according to Honda’s “Green Factory” concept, in which the surrounding natural environment was taken into consideration. Honda says it installed a new water-based paint system that will lessen emissions of volatile organic compounds by one-tenth of the current amount.

Honda also plans to purify and recycle wastewater at the plant and reduce electricity, gas and water usage via improved manufacturing processes.

Dongfeng Honda will begin production of the Civic this spring. It already builds the CR-V cross/utility vehicle.

Some 26,244 CR-Vs were sold in China last year. The vehicle’s share of the SUV segment in China rose to 13% in 2005, from 6.7% in 2004.

Dongfeng Honda plans to increase the number of exclusive dealers to 140 by year’s end to further Honda’s Chinese sales.