By Business First of Columbus

Honda has begun assembling its new natural gas-powered Civic automobile with plans to step up production at its Indiana plant, the company said Wednesday.

The 2012 Civic is being made at Hondaâ¿¿s plant in Greensburg, which opened in 2008, taking on assembly of Civics that once were put together in East Liberty, about 30 miles northwest of Columbus. The four-cylinder motors for the natural gas Civic are being made in Anna.

The car will appear in dealer showrooms on Oct. 18. The company is touting the engines as cheaper for motorists because fuel is less expensive than gasoline, mileage is improved and motor emissions are reduced.

Honda (NYSE:HMC) said its network of dealerships able to sell and service the natural gas-fueled cars has expanded to 200 in 36 states.

The carâ¿¿s sticker price is $26,155.

The Indiana operation is preparing to double its capacity to 200,000 vehicles a year, hiring nearly 1,000 workers to help staff a second shift starting later this month, the company said. The hiring doubled the work force of the plant, which is south of Indianapolis.

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