Associates at Honda’s East Liberty Auto Plant today began mass production of the 2010 Honda Accord Crosstour, a new type of crossover utility vehicle (CUV) that combines the premium refinement of the Accord with the versatile characteristics of a sport-utility vehicle, including a highly functional under-floor storage area.
Launch of the new Crosstour comes only weeks before the East Liberty plant, one of the most productive vehicle assembly plants in North America, celebrates 20 years of manufacturing cars and light trucks in Ohio. The Crosstour joins the popular Honda CR-V and unique Honda Element light truck models currently manufactured in the plant, which earned the 2009 Gold Award for best quality in the J.D. Power & Associates Initiatl Quality Survey (IQS).
Attesting to the flexibility of its production systems, the Crosstour is the largest vehicle ever produced* at the East Liberty plant. Even so, the plant required only relatively minor changes to conveyors and lifts to accommodate the new vehicle.
Associate suggestions played a substantial role in the manufacturing of the vehicle, including the redesign of processes to ensure better installation sequences and ergonomic changes to improve vehicle assembly. “The associates at the East Liberty Auto Plant have proven they can build the best cars in America and they will put all of their efforts into building yet another great product for our customers,” Plant Manager John Pleiman said.
In preparation for launch of the Crosstour, the Assembly Department implemented a unique video training initiative that helped associates achieve big gains in quality and efficiency while preparing for mass production. Based on an analysis of the most effective training methods, the videos provide clear visual instructions and help assure consistency in training on each process. Producing and viewing the videos often led to ideas on how to improve the assembly processes.
With the Accord Sedan and Coupe produced only a few miles away at the Marysville Auto Plant, East Liberty associates went to that plant to learn from the Marysville associates’ longstanding knowledge of Accord production. In addition, Crosstour new-model and production associates from the East Liberty plant traveled to Japan for several weeks at a time to participate in the engineering of the vehicle’s production processes.
“This project was a perfect example of what can be accomplished if all sides understand each other and work together,” said Brad Gentzler, who led the Crosstour launch team. “We had a lot of support from the vehicle designers to verify the best ways to build the Crosstour, and our suppliers were closely involved as well to reach our desired levels of quality, cost and efficiency.”
Honda’s auto engine plant in Anna, Ohio, is supplying the sophisticated 3.5-liter i-VTEC V-6 engines for the Crosstour, and Honda Transmission Mfg. of America, Inc. in Russells Point, Ohio, is supplying its automatic transmissions.
Sales of the Crosstour begin November 20 with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) starting at $29,670, plus a destination and handling charge1 of $710.
The East Liberty Auto Plant, which started production on Dec. 18, 1989 with the Civic Sedan, is one of two vehicle assembly plants operated by Honda of America Mfg., Inc., in Ohio. It pioneered advancements in environmental performance with its waterborne painting system that reduces emissions, and use of returnable parts containers to significantly reduce waste to landfills.
Honda is currently featuring the East Liberty plant and its associates in a television commercial that highlights them for having the best quality of any auto plant in America, based on earning the 2009 Gold Award for best quality. Shot entirely on site at the plant, the commercial shows Honda associates arriving for work to build their high-quality products.
The Marysville Auto Plant was the first Japanese auto plant in America when it started production of the Honda Accord in 1982. This flexible and highly integrated manufacturing facility currently produces the Honda Accord Sedan and Coupe models, Acura TL Sedan and Acura RDX SUV.
Over the past 30 years, Honda’s plants in Ohio have produced more than 13 million automobiles, 17 million engines and nearly 13 million automatic transmissions.
Earlier this year, Honda marked the 50th anniversary of doing business in America, keyed to the June 11, 1959 establishment of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. Today, Honda operates nine major manufacturing facilities in America, working with 545 U.S. parts and material suppliers to produce more than 3 million products each year, including Honda and Acura automobiles, Honda all-terrain vehicles, general purpose engines and power equipment products. The company has two additional plants under construction in North Carolina, for the production of the HondaJet advanced light jet and GE Honda turbofan jet engines.
Additional media information including detailed pricing features and high-resolution photography of the 2010 Honda Accord Crosstour is available at www.hondanews.com. Consumer information is available at automobiles.honda.com.
*Honda and Acura automobiles are produced using domestic and globally sourced parts
1Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) excluding tax, license, registration, $710 destination charge and option. Dealer prices may vary.