Honda Motor Co Ltd, Japan's No.2 automaker, said on Friday it will start partial weekend shifts at two factories in Japan as the government's tax incentives for low-emission cars help sales.

Honda plans to add one to two days of weekend work at its Suzuka factory, which makes the Insight hybrid and Fit subcompact, and at a plant in Saitama Prefecture that makes the Fit and the Freed minivan, starting this month through October.

It will also restart a second shift at one of the two lines at its Sayama plant, raising daily output at the line to 900 cars from 550.

Japan lowered taxes on fuel-efficient cars to push consumers into ditching older cars, pushing forward demand for Honda and rivals Toyota Motor Corp and Nissan Motor Co.

A simple calculation of Honda's weekend output, starting this month, shows production would edge up roughly 13,900 units over four months through October.

The additional shifts do not immediately mean a change in Honda's plan to produce about 900,000 cars in Japan in the business year to March, spokesmen said.

The factory in Saitama now has daily output of 1,100 units while the Suzuka factory has a daily output of 1,600 units.

Honda plans to launch its CR-Z hybrid sports car next February and a gasoline-electric Fit by the end of 2010, speeding up the rollout of its hybrid cars