Honda-The Power of Dreams
Honda Will Build New Acura SUV in Ohio

MARYSVILLE, Ohio – On the eve of its 25th anniversary of manufacturing in the state, Honda of America Mfg. today announced that a new Acura sport-utility vehicle (SUV) will be produced in Ohio, starting in 2006.

Production of the all-new SUV will join a lineup in Ohio that includes the Honda Accord, Civic, Element light truck and the Acura TL.  Placed in the Acura lineup beneath the MDX in both price and size, it will be the fourth performance and luxury Acura model produced in North America.

“Since we began auto production in 1982, our Ohio plants have focused primarily on production of passenger cars,” said Koki Hirashima, Honda of America’s president and CEO.  “Along with the model mix produced at Honda’s other plants in North America, this will position us for the future – providing added flexibility to meet the needs of our customers for both cars and light trucks.”

The announcement in Ohio reflects Honda’s business strategy to manufacture products close to the customer.  In addition to passenger cars, Honda has launched five all-new light truck models exclusively in North America since 1998, including the all-new 2005 Odyssey that just went into mass production in Alabama.

Most of these light trucks were designed and developed by American engineers at Honda’s U.S. R&D centers, including a major automotive engineering complex in Ohio that houses a safety research crash-test facility.

Honda’s U.S. R&D operations have had a profound impact on Honda’s domestic parts sourcing.  Honda works closely with more than 600 supplier partners in North America, with purchases of parts and materials exceeding $12 billion a year.

It was 25 years ago this Friday, Sept. 10, 1979, that Honda of America Mfg. began assembling products in America, when an Elsinore motorcycle rolled off the line.  Three years later, Honda became the first Japanese automaker to produce automobiles in America.

Honda has invested more than US$8 billion in 12 plants and other operations in North America.  And nearly eight of 10 vehicles Honda sells here are made in those plants.

To meet market needs, Hirashima said associates in Ohio have been involved in major innovation projects, focusing on new levels of quality, flexibility and efficiency for the future.

“This has increased our flexibility to produce a greater variety of cars and light trucks in Ohio,” he said.  “Today, even after 25 years, our plants remain among the most efficient and competitive.”

Using domestic and globally sourced parts, last year Honda of America produced 677,000 Honda and Acura vehicles, as well as 108,500 motorcycles and ATVs and 1.1 million auto engines.

Honda’s North American Employment now totals more than 30,000 associates at the company’s 12 North American manufacturing plants, three major R&D centers and dozens of other sales, parts and related facilities.  With the recent addition of a production line at Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, Honda’s total North American auto production capacity was boosted from 1.25 million units to 1.4 million units.