Honda unveiled a new $123 million Marysville Auto Plant paint line on Thursday, supporting the company’s commitment to a cleaner environment, product quality and Ohio’s economy.
Honda’s capital investment in Ohio now tops $6.3 billion over the past 26 years as the 234,000-square-foot paint shop goes on line and as two other major Ohio projects continue in the building phase: a $100 million expansion of the Honda transmission plant in Russells Point and the $89 million expansion of the parts warehouse in Troy.
“This new paint facility, along with other investments in Ohio, is part of a quality and value commitment to our customers,” said John Adams, executive vice president and general manager of manufacturing for Honda of America Manufacturing, Inc.
The highly automated paint line incorporates the latest automotive coating technologies to reduce emissions and take paint quality to higher levels. It also will raise the plant’s capability to build a variety of motor vehicles as customer tastes range among cars and light trucks.
“Even though it is our oldest auto plant in America, the Marysville plant is a key part of Honda’s commitment to quality, efficiency and the environment,” Plant Manager Sam Harpest said.
Waterborne coatings will be used for the first time at the Marysville plant, a technology pioneered at Honda’s other Ohio auto plant near East Liberty. In addition, coating efficiency and quality will be increased with new paint technologies developed by Honda Engineering.
The new line consumes less energy overall than the line it replaces, which is the original line from 1982 when Honda became the first Japanese automaker to build a car in the United States. Innovations such as solid-seam ovens, air recycling in painting booths and high-efficiency motors allowed energy needs to fall.
“Our associates joined as a team on the very challenging task of integrating the new paint operations into mass production,” said Chris White, Paint Department manager. “These associates stepped up. They developed their own training on new processes and came up with new ideas on safety and efficiency, which were put into practice.”
Department associates spent many hours fine-tuning computer programs that control paint application and training for new processes in the paint department – another example of Honda teamwork.
“At Honda, we are increasing our ability to build more models on each assembly line,” Adams said. “In the long run, this flexibility allows us to launch products more efficiently and with less cost, and creates a more stable working environment for our associates.”
The Russells Point expansion is at Honda Transmission Manufacturing Inc. When completed this year, the facility will be able to produce critical gear sets, which previously had been imported from Japan. The transmission plant produces more than 1-million transmissions per year.
In Troy, American Honda Motor Co. Inc. is expanding its service parts depot operations to house a domestic parts supplier distribution hub and a procurement operations support office. The hub will replenish American Honda’s nine other distribution centers in the U.S.
At Honda of America, both the Marysville Auto Plant and the East Liberty Plant will add new vehicles this summer, while retaining production of the vehicles they currently produce.
The Marysville Plant will add the all-new Acura RDX sport utility vehicle to its lineup alongside the Accord, Accord Coupe and Acura TL. At East Liberty, the Honda CR-V will be added to the line. The CR-V will join the recently redesigned Civic sedan and the Element light truck.
Another key automotive plant for Honda is the Anna Engine Plant in Anna, which produces 1.1 million engines yearly and supplies the Ohio vehicle plants as well as those in Alliston, Ontario.
The company also operates Honda Research Americas – Ohio Center, near Raymond, which is a major global engineering and design center for Honda, the No. 1 producer of cars and light trucks in Ohio. Honda also is the state’s largest producer of motorcycles.
Honda employs more than 15,000 Ohioans, and its North American plants purchased more than $6.5 billion in parts from 150 Ohio suppliers last year. North American operations spent more than $16 billion for parts and materials from 600 suppliers in North America in 2005.