Honda Celebrates 30 Years of (Expanding) Manufacturing in America

Honda Motor Corporation, the Tokyo-headquartered automobile manufacturer that shook the world with its low cost, high fuel efficiency cars like the Civic and Accord, celebates 30 years of manufacturing in America. That’s right, in September 1979, Honda opened the first of several manufacturing and assembly plants in west central Ohio (Marysville, Anna, East Liberty and other small towns). Since then, Honda has anchored a resurgence of manufacturing employment in Ohio.

During the tree-planting event, [Honda of America CEO] Iwata announced that Honda’s auto plant in East Liberty, Ohio, will be the production site for the new Honda Accord Crosstour crossover utility vehicle (CUV). The East Liberty Auto Plant recently earned the J.D. Power and Associates’ 2009 Gold Plant Award for having the highest quality of any auto plant in North America. The Accord Crosstour will go on sale this fall.

“We have continued to advance our products, and the flexible and efficient manufacturing capabilities that build them, to create new value for Honda and Acura customers,” said Iwata, who leads Honda’s manufacturing operations in North America. “The addition of the Accord Crosstour not only signifies our commitment to the state, but also our trust in the Ohio associates to build this top-of-the-line new Honda vehicle.”

In addition to the East Liberty Auto Plant, other major Honda operations in Ohio will play big roles in the Accord Crosstour project. Honda’s auto engine plant near Anna will produce its engine and Honda’s transmission plant near Russells Point will be the production site for its automatic transmission.

“Honda’s automotive operations in Ohio continue to grow in importance as they provide support to our manufacturing plants in North America and around the world,” said Tom Shoupe, Honda of America senior vice president. “In addition to starting Honda motorcycle and auto production in America, Ohio is where we first began North American engine and transmission manufacturing, and where we have established a major R&D center to develop many of the products we make in North America.”

Today, Honda employs 15,000 Ohioans in its manufacturing operations, more than General Motors, Chrysler, Ford, and Delphi.

Moreover, as General Motors continues to move its operations to target more profitable markets in Asia (most notably China), Delphi continues to struggle with efficiency and cost control issues, and Chrysler faces a merger (and downsizing) with Fiat, Honda is expanding its manufacturing and assembly operations in Ohio and the Midwest.