Honda Motor Co. Ltd. begins mass production at its Lincoln, AL, plant Nov. 14, six months ahead of schedule. Honda Manufacturing of Alabama is building the Odyssey minivan and the V-6 engine that powers it. The Alabama plant currently is operating one shift, initially building 55 units per day. A second shift will be added next spring, with total production hitting 500 units per day by the end of 2002. This brings the plant's capacity to 120,000 vehicles and 120,000 engines. By then, employment will grow to 1,500 workers.

Honda is shifting the bulk of Odyssey production from its capacity-constrained plant at Alliston, Ont., Canada. The shift in Odyssey production makes room for a Honda-badged compact SUV, to be built on the same line as the Acura MDX at Alliston. The SUV, which first will be shown at the upcoming North American International Auto Show, will replace the Passport. Officials say Honda will build at least one more vehicle at the Alabama plant further down the road.