Honda of America to Focus on Key Role in N.A. Auto Operations; Local Motorcycle Production Will End in Ohio

​Ohio-based Honda of America Mfg., Inc. today announced that it will discontinue production1 of motorcycles in spring 2009 as part of a global strategy that will focus the company on its leader role in Honda’s North American automobile operations. The 450 Marysville Motorcycle Plant associates will remain key members of the Honda of America team that produces cars, light trucks, engines, and major components in Ohio. There will be no layoffs. The move reflects a global Honda strategy for production of certain larger motorcycles. All motorcycle production from the Marysville Motorcycle Plant and the historic Hamamatsu Factory in Japan will be consolidated in 2009 at a new motorcycle plant in Kumamoto, Japan. The new plant will serve as Honda’s global leader with advanced motorcycle production technologies. Both the Marysville and Hamamatsu plants produce medium- to large-size motorcycles. “Our goal is always to achieve outstanding customer satisfaction,” said Akio Hamada, president &CEO of Honda of America. “This move allows us to improve the competitiveness and appeal of our products by applying the latest technologies and production systems at one efficient location.” “This was a complex decision tied to the important role that Honda in Ohio plays within our North American automobile operations,” Hamada said. “We will focus our associates’ abilities on our goal to produce cars, light trucks and engines in Ohio that are of the highest quality and value for our customers.” Honda of America set a company record for auto production in 2007 with the manufacture of 701,317 passenger cars and light trucks at its two Ohio assembly plants. The diverse and challenging roster of vehicles produced in Ohio includes the Honda Accord Sedan and Coupe, Civic Sedan, natural gas-powered Civic GX, Element and CR-V, and the Acura TL Sedan and RDX sport utility vehicle. The Accord, Civic and CR-V ranked among the top 10 best-selling vehicles in America in 2007. In addition, Honda produced more than 1.1 million automotive engines and 719,861 transmissions in Ohio, as well as a number of other vehicle components. Underpinning the decision is Honda’s investment of approximately $11 billion in North American auto production operations. Associates at Honda of America have played critical roles in supporting the startup and management of auto plants in Alabama, Canada and Mexico, transmission plants in Ohio and Georgia, an all-terrain vehicle plant in South Carolina, as well as Honda’s 7th auto plant in North America, currently under construction in Indiana, and a new auto engine plant under construction in Canada. Experienced associates from Honda of America will continue to play this “leader” function role. Hamada sees the decision to re-direct the focus in Ohio on automobile operations as an opportunity. “Our motorcycle plant associates in Marysville are dedicated and focused on customer satisfaction. They will strengthen the rest of Honda of America with their knowledge, experience and tremendous spirit,” Hamada said. The Marysville Motorcycle Plant opened in 1979 as the first Honda plant in the U.S. Last year, it produced approximately 44,000 Gold Wing touring and VTX cruiser bikes. The plant formerly produced all-terrain vehicles and transferred that responsibility to Honda of South Carolina Mfg. and the Kumamoto Factory in 2005. The Marysville Motorcycle Plant was the catalyst for Honda’s production operations in North America. The plant’s success provided the foundation for Honda’s expansion into automobile production in central Ohio and North America. Honda employs more than 13,000 associates at five production plants in Ohio, and employs 15,000 associates across the state. Total capital investment in Ohio exceeds $7 billion, and Honda purchased $6.7 billion worth of parts from Ohio companies last year. In addition to the Marysville Motorcycle Plant, Honda of America operations include the Marysville Auto Plant, East Liberty Auto Plant and the Anna Engine Plant. Honda Transmission Manufacturing of America also is based in Ohio. In 2007, Honda purchased more than $18.8 billion in parts and materials from 650 North American suppliers. Last fall, Honda of America marked the 25th anniversary of the startup of auto production in Ohio with the launching of the all-new 2008 Honda Accord. 1 Honda products are produced using domestic and globally-sourced parts.
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