Honda of South Carolina Dedicates Second Plant in Timmonsville

New Plant Assembles Honda "AquaTrax" Personal Watercraft

4/25/2003 1:58:33 PM

Honda of South Carolina Mfg., Inc. (HSC) today dedicated the new second plant for the assembly of Honda AquaTrax personal watercraft (PWC). South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford and other state and local officials joined the event at Honda's new $11 million plant, located adjacent to HSC's existing facility that produces and assembles all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and engines.

"Six years ago, we believed that the people from this community would make great Honda associates," said Koichi Kondo, senior executive vice president and chief operating officer of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "We have now entrusted our relationship with the customer - and the responsibility to meet their needs - with our associates here at HSC."

HSC now employs more than 1,600 associates at its two plants for the production of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), engines and PWCs - a total investment of more than

$111 million. The new plant is Honda's only dedicated PWC plant in the world. Annual PWC production will be based on market demand, with current plans to produce approximately 15,000 units of the AquaTrax in 2003. HSC began mass production of PWCs in December 2002.

"A little more than one year ago, Honda did not even sell PWCs - now, South Carolina is home to the best PWCs in the world," said HSC President Hideki Ikegawa. "We have a dream to make this the best Powersports plant in the world."

Honda's line of AquaTrax PWCs includes the AquaTrax F-12 and the turbocharged F-12X. An all-new R-12X two-seat model will be introduced later this month. AquaTrax models not only offer high performance, but were the first 4-stroke engine watercraft to gain certification for year 2006 emissions standards from both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

The decision to expand production at HSC coincides with Honda's Powersports growth strategy. The term "Powersports" represents the full line of products Honda offers, including motorcycles, ATVs and the newest addition to the lineup - PWCs.

HSC began production of ATVs in Timmonsville in July 1998, with an ATV facility that currently represents a capital investment of $100 million. The number of ATVs produced has expanded from two to the current roster of eight models. Engine production has been added and the annual capacity is now 250,000 ATVs. HSC expects to reach the one million mark in cumulative ATV production in late 2003.

HSC currently exports ATVs to countries including Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. HSC also provides key ATV components -- including engines, fuel tanks, differentials and swing arms -- to Honda's Ohio motorcycle plant for ATV assembly there.

Honda is the world's largest producer of engines, with more than 15 million customers globally in 2002 for its diverse line-up of automobiles, motorcycles and ATVs, and power equipment products. Honda began operations in North America in 1959 with the establishment of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., Honda's first overseas subsidiary. Honda employs more than 26,000 associates in North America in the design, manufacture and marketing of products. Honda currently has 12 manufacturing plants in North America with more than 110 plants in 31 countries worldwide.