Honda to Invest $30 million in North Carolina Plant
Increasing Annual Engine Production to 1.5 million Units
|SWEPSONVILLE, N.C., January 7, 2003 --- Honda Power Equipment Mfg., Inc. (HPE) today announced that it will invest approximately $30 million in its Swepsonville, NC factory to add a third production line and make other improvements to help meet growing demand for Honda's general purpose engines. The move will increase HPE's capacity for multi-purpose power equipment engines by 50% to 1.5 million units per year in 2004. HPE produces engines, lawn mowers and other products using domestic and globally-sourced parts.
The expansion will add about 200 new full-time Honda associates in addition to seasonal employment. HPE currently employs approximately 370 associates. HPE will begin hiring new associates for the expansion in early 2004.
"This expansion will enable Honda to continue to meet customer demand for our engines -- both for Honda products and as a supplier to other power equipment makers," said Yoshihiko Toyozumi, president of HPE. "Honda is proud to have been in North Carolina since 1984, and with this new growth we are expanding our commitment to the people, state and region."
Honda is the world's largest engine maker and the expansion of Honda's North Carolina operations demonstrates Honda's emergence as one of the world's leading power equipment manufacturers. "The associates at HPE have quietly assumed a leading role in Honda's global multi-purpose engine production strategy," said Toyozumi.
HPE has produced more than 5 million engines and more than 2.5 million lawn mowers since it opened in August 1984. HPE began production of the GC 160 engine series in June 2000. This resulted in a tripling in annual production capacity from approximately 300,000 engines used primarily for Honda lawn mowers, to more than one million units for Honda products and for sale to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for use in a range of equipment including lawnmowers, pressure washers and generators.
The new production line will have die casting, machining and assembly operations. It will begin mass production in spring 2004 and is expected to reach full production by fall 2004.
Cooperation with local and state officials was critical to Honda's ability to move ahead. "We wanted to expand in North Carolina, but it would have been impossible without the commitment and support of local and state officials to provide the necessary infrastructure to meet our growing needs," said Toyozumi. "The local community's partnership with Honda has been tremendous, from necessary widening of the road, to upgrading the water, sewer and electric power and assisting with job training. We sincerely appreciate everyone's efforts."
HPE's current 142,000 square foot facility represents an existing capital investment of $114 million. The expansion will add approximately 70,000 square feet and a new assembly line to the plant. Currently, two assembly lines produce approximately one million engines per year. HPE began operation in 1984 with lawn mower assembly. HPE also produces snow blowers, water pumps and string trimmers.
The GC series made in North Carolina is Honda's solution to the need for quiet, efficient, and low emission engines specifically designed for home-use power equipment applications. The GC and GCV160 models are ideal for a variety of consumer products, including lawn mowers, pressure washers, water pumps, compressors, and other power equipment such as snow blowers and tillers.
Honda produces more than 15 million engines annually for its three product lines -- automobiles, motorcycles and power products -- and for sales to other manufacturers. Honda designs, manufactures and markets its products in North America and worldwide. Honda currently builds products in eleven manufacturing plants in North America, with three major research and development centers in the U.S. Honda employs more than 26,000 associates in North America.