The all-new 2007 Acura RDX sport-luxury SUV has begun rolling off an assembly line at the Marysville Auto Plant, which for 24 years has built only cars, the company announced today. The RDX is one of many projects that has helped push Honda’s capital investment in the United States to more than $8 billion.
“Honda is investing in U.S. design, research, development and manufacturing to meet the product needs of our American customers,” said John Adams, executive vice president and general manager of manufacturing at Honda of America Mfg. Inc.
“The RDX is just the latest example of Honda building competitive products and facilities in America, and the commitment of our associates that makes it possible.”
The RDX is Acura’s new five-passenger Entry Premium sport utility vehicle. It combines Acura’s first-ever turbocharged engine and the agile control of Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD™) with a class-leading array of sophisticated electronic technologies.
Like the RDX itself, the technologically advanced all-new turbo engine and the all-new transmission are being produced in Ohio.
The Acura RDX will be built on Line 1 of the ultra-flexible Marysville Auto Plant, the facility that produced the first Japanese car in America in 1982. Today’s Line 1 produces the Acura TL luxury sedan and the four-door Honda Accord Sedan. Line 2 also produces the Accord Sedan as well as the Accord Coupe.
The RDX joins a growing line of Acura and Honda automobiles and light trucks that are made only in North America*: The Acura TL and the Accord Coupe; the Honda Element SUV and Honda Civic Natural Gas Vehicle at East Liberty, Ohio; the Honda Odyssey minivan in Lincoln, Ala.; the Acura CSX and MDX and the Honda Ridgeline and Honda Civic Si in Alliston, Ontario; and the Honda Pilot, built in Alabama and Ontario.
Additionally, Honda builds the Honda Accord at Marysville and the Honda Civic Sedan at East Liberty and Alliston – vehicles that are built around the world.
As important as the number of vehicles being made domestically by Honda is the company’s ability to produce multiple models in each plant, allowing for changes in market demand.
“In a world of excess auto industry production capacity, flexibility is king when responding to the changes in the market,” Adams said, adding: “The real secret to our success lies in the empowerment and dedication of our associates.”
Serving Honda’s North American plants is a base of 600 supplier companies in North America, with revenue from Honda of more than $16 billion annually. (The U.S. share is $14 billion among 525 suppliers.)
“Honda has always focused on purchasing parts where we build our products,” Adams said. “Establishing a globally competitive supplier network right here in North America is essential to our operations.”
The RDX went into mass production this week and will officially go on sale Aug. 10, with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $32,995.
The RDX places state-of-the-art communications, navigation and audio entertainment at the driver’s fingertips, while keeping with Acura’s long-established tradition of crisp, contemporary styling and intuitive driving.
Built on a new global light truck platform, the RDX concept was initiated in California and developed in Japan. Besides featuring precedent-setting engineering features, including Acura’s first turbocharged and intercooled engine and the first adaptation of a SH-AWD™ system to a Sport Utility Vehicle, the RDX also offers Acura’s first standard 18-inch wheels and tires.
“To build this complex vehicle, we spent a lot of time focusing on quality and the safety of the work environment itself,” said Bill Easdale, the RDX engineering project leader at the Marysville plant.
“Teamwork throughout the global Honda system was critical,” Easdale said. “There was an incredible amount of coordination between design and manufacturing to craft this vehicle from a concept to a great product.”
Twenty Honda associates from Ohio spent two years in Japan supporting development. Then, the team from Japan – numbering 60 – came to Ohio for the final phases of the startup.
One big challenge at the Marysville Auto Plant was the larger size of the vehicle compared with the Accord and TL.
To understand whether the RDX would fit through all the plant operations, the team created a “porcupine car” – a scrap Accord body with welded metal strips jutting upward to “fill in” the RDX’s silhouette.
“By running our porcupine vehicle through weld, paint and assembly, we were able to identify the equipment and facility adjustments needed to establish production,” Easdale said.
The Marysville Auto Plant is among the largest in North America. It produced 442,299 Accords and TLs in 2005.
The Anna Engine Plant, where the Variable Flow Turbo (VFT) engine will be built, has an annual production capacity of 1.16 million and is the largest Honda auto engine plant in the world. Its engines supply Honda’s Ohio and Ontario operations and, in 2008, will supply the new assembly plant Honda will construct in Greensburg, Ind.
Honda of America Mfg. Inc. was established in 1979 to build motorcycles, adding car production in 1982. It’s comprised of four manufacturing plants – the Marysville Auto Plant, the East Liberty Auto Plant, the Anna Engine Plant and the original facility, the Marysville Motorcycle Plant. Honda of America employs nearly 13,000 Ohioans. Other major Honda operations in the state include Honda R&D Americas Inc. in Raymond; Honda Transmission Mfg. Inc. in Russells Point; Honda Engineering North America Inc. in Marysville and Anna; and the American Honda Motor Co. Inc. service parts and procurement center in Troy. Honda’s Ohio employment totals 16,000.
For more information about Acura vehicles, please visit www.acura.com. For news media inquiries, please go to www.acuranews.com, and hondanews.com.
*using domestic and globally sourced parts