Honda Produces 10-Millionth Automobile in North America

4/17/2001 3:54:34 PM

Honda reached a major milestone in North America last week with its 10 millionth North American-assembled vehicle since local production began in 1982 at Honda of America Mfg. (HAM) in Marysville, Ohio, American Honda Motor Co., Inc., announced today.

Honda annually manufactures and assembles more than one million vehicles in North America, including the Honda Accord, Civic and Odyssey, and the Acura TL, CL, MDX and EL (Canada only model). It also produces both V-6 and 4-cylinder auto engines and automatic transmissions.

With a recent production increase at Honda of Canada Mfg. (HCM) in Alliston, Ontario, Canada, Honda's annual North American vehicle production capacity will increase to 1.18 million units by 2003 - 20,000 units above the previously announced target of 1.16 million units. The production increase at HCM reflects Honda's expansion in production of light truck class vehicles - HCM currently has exclusive worldwide responsibility for production of the Honda Odyssey minivan and the Acura MDX sport utility vehicle. In the fall of 2001, Honda will open its 11th North American plant in Lincoln, Alabama for the production and assembly of the Odyssey and V-6 engines.

"Our vision in building products in North America was to be close to our customers," said Koki Hirashima, president of Honda of America Mfg. and head of production engineering and manufacturing for Honda in North America. "Increasing customer demand for our products, together with the determination and creativity of our associates and suppliers in North America, is what made it possible to produce 10 million vehicles in less than two decades."

In 2000, more than 75% of all Honda and Acura vehicles sold in America were produced and assembled in North America. Increasingly, Honda's North American operations have taken on major responsibilities within the company's global strategy. Eight different models - the Honda Accord Coupe, Civic Coupe, Civic GX natural gas vehicle and Odyssey, and the Acura TL, CL, MDX and RL are produced exclusively in North America.

"The growth in the capabilities of our operations in North America is based directly on the growth in capabilities of our associates in North America," said Hirashima.

This growth has led to an expanding role within Honda's "Global Product Supply Network." American Honda has exported more than 600,000 North American-assembled automobiles to more than 90 countries. In this way, Honda's North American plants serve not only as a regional supply base, but also as part of a true global network.

Honda's ongoing introduction of its flexible New Manufacturing System in North America also has helped expand the role of these plants. The key attribute of this new production system is flexibility - both in terms of the relative ease with which multiple models can be built in a single factory and the number of different Honda plants that can build the same models. With the launch of the 2001 Civic, the New Manufacturing System was introduced at the East Liberty Plant in Ohio and the Alliston Plant in Ontario, Canada. Installation of the new system has begun at the Marysville Auto Plant in Ohio.

Growing North American production has also meant increased opportunities for North American suppliers. Honda currently partners with more than 480 North American suppliers, and on a global basis purchased more than $8.77 billion in parts and materials from North American suppliers last year.

Honda began manufacturing in North America in 1979, producing motorcycles at HAM in Marysville, Ohio using domestic and globally-sourced parts. HAM now employs more than 13,000 associates at four different Ohio facilities - the Marysville Motorcycle Plant, the Marysville Auto Plant, the East Liberty Auto Plant and the Anna Engine Plant.

With an annual auto production capacity of 670,000 units, HAM now produces the Accord Sedan and Coupe, Civic Sedan, Coupe and Civic GX, Acura TL and Acura CL. To date, HAM has produced almost 8 million Honda and Acura vehicles. Producing more than one million auto engines per year, HAM also provides engines to Honda plants in Canada, Mexico and other nations.

Honda began auto production at HCM in Canada in 1986, focusing primarily on Civic production until 1998, when the Alliston plant successfully undertook a major challenge with the launch of the all-new Odyssey minivan on the plant's number two production line. In fall 2000, the number two line added production of the Acura MDX sport utility vehicle, at the same time increasing daily production capacity from 650 to 700 units. Last month, to meet growing consumer demand, HCM's number two line increased its production capacity from 700 to 750 units per day.

These production increases totaling 20,000 units at HCM's number two line will boost production to 180,000 Odyssey minivans and Acura MDX sport utility vehicles per year. HCM now has an annual capacity of 350,000 units, employing 4,000 associates at its Alliston, Ontario facility. To date, HCM has produced almost 2 million vehicles.

Honda de Mexico (HDM) began assembling vehicles in 1995 and produces Accord Sedans primarily for the Mexican market using engines from Honda's Anna Engine Plant in Ohio, and support and parts from Honda's North American suppliers. To date, HDM has produced more than 46,000 units.

Later this year, Honda's newest auto and engine manufacturing facility, Honda Manufacturing of Alabama (HMA) will begin production to help Honda meet growing consumer demand for light trucks and other vehicles. HMA will have an annual capacity of 120,000 vehicles and engines.

When completed, HMA will increase Honda's capital investment in North America to more than $6 billion, increase North American employment to more than 25,000 associates and bring to 11 the number of major Honda manufacturing plants in North America, all using domestic and globally-sourced parts.