Canada, Honda representatives to meet about potential EV plant -source

OTTAWA, (Reuters) – Canadian officials are meeting representatives of Honda Motor (7267.T) this week, a government source said, following a news report that the car maker was considering building an almost 2 trillion yen ($13.9 billion) electric vehicle plant in the country.

The Ottawa talks will involve several different federal departments, said the source familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak on the record.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp first reported this week’s meeting, citing sources.

Honda declined to comment on whether its representatives planned to meet with Canadian officials this week. There was nothing it could disclose at this time, a Honda spokesperson in Tokyo said.

On Sunday, Japan’s Nikkei news group reported that Honda is looking at multiple potential sites for the plant, including next to an existing automobile factory in Alliston, Ontario.

The report said Honda expects to make a decision by the end of 2024 and bring the new facility online as early as 2028.

“Federal government representatives are engaging with Honda on an ongoing basis – as they do with all other major potential investors,” said Audrey Champoux, a spokesperson for Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne.

She said that Canada has a “strong relationship” with the company.

Canada, which is home to a large mining sector, has wooed companies involved in all levels of the EV supply chain to safeguard the future of its manufacturing heartland in Ontario as the world seeks to cut carbon emissions.

Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) and Stellantis-LG Energy Solution will receive heavy support from the Canadian government for their planned battery gigafactories in the country. The government says these “anchors” will help the country scale up its EV supply chain.

Honda, Japan’s second-biggest car maker, has been slow to step up sales of electric vehicles. The automaker, with partner LG Energy Solution (373220.KS), in 2022 announced Ohio as the site of a planned $4.4 billion joint venture battery plant.

($1 = 144.1500 yen)

Reporting by Steve Scherer; Additional reporting by Daniel Leussink in Tokyo; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Muralikumar Anantharaman