Honda's Economic Impact on Ohio Grows As Partnership With State Nears 25 Years

6/8/2004 12:08:35 PM

Honda's annual payroll within the state of Ohio has topped the $1.1 billion mark as the company celebrates its 25th year of manufacturing in the United States, Koki Hirashima, president and CEO of Honda of America Mfg. Inc., said today.

Hirashima, addressing the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, said the payroll figure is generated by the 16,000 Ohioans who work for Honda. An additional 20,000 supplier-industry jobs in the state are tied directly to the manufacture of parts for Honda.

"Twenty-five years ago, Honda formed a partnership with Ohio," Hirashima said. "Together, we have been successful in ways that even the most optimistic among us could never have predicted.

"Thanks goes to our associates, suppliers and business partners, and to the state and local communities where we and our suppliers have operations."

Hirashima also told the Chamber gathering:

  • Honda's operations in Ohio began in 1979 with 64 associates working in motorcycle production. Today, Honda of America is the No.1 auto producer in Ohio, having turned out 677,389 Accords, Civics, Elements and Acura products in 2003, as well as 108,525 motorcycles and ATVs and 1.1 million auto engines.
  • Of the $12.6 billion Honda pays U.S. suppliers each year, more than $7 billion goes to Ohio suppliers and into the state's economy.
  • Honda's 175 Ohio suppliers employ more than 40,000 people and more than half of these employees are directly involved in manufacturing for Honda.
  • Growth through capital investment has been a hallmark of Honda's Ohio experience. In the past 25 years, Honda made more than $6 billion in capital investments in the state, while its suppliers have contributed $1.5 billion.

The success of the Marysville Motorcycle Plant in 1979 led Honda to quickly add car production, turning out the first Japanese automobile in the United States in 1982 at the Marysville Auto Plant. The Anna Engine Plant, opened in 1985, became Honda's largest engine plant in the world. Honda investment continued with the East Liberty Auto Plant in 1989, Honda R&D Americas-Ohio Center in Raymond and Honda Transmission Mfg. in Russells Point.

Investment and upgrading is ongoing at Honda in Ohio.

"We just announced plans to build a new $123 million paint operation at the Marysville Auto Plant Ohi our biggest investment yet to update our Ohio auto plants," he said. "As we've matured, we've continued to refresh and enhance our facilities as an investment in the future."

Honda's Ohio research and development arm "develops new car and light truck models, including research, design, testing and prototype development for products manufactured in North America," Hirashima said, adding that a new $30 million crash-test center opened at the Raymond facility last fall.

Honda also operates a service parts, distribution and safety-training center in Troy, which employs 320 associates.

Hirashima serves as managing director of Honda Motor Co. in Tokyo and heads the engineering functions of Honda's North American operations.

He said the strength of Honda's operations comes from the capable team of Ohio associates who run the manufacturing operations.

"When Honda announced in 1977 that it was coming to Ohio to build motorcycles, industry experts thought it was a foolish decision. They said American workers could never build vehicles to Honda's quality standards," Hirashima said. "A few might even have said we were crazy.

"But in Ohio, we found strong values, a good work ethic, and an understanding of what it means to work together as a team," he said. "Based on respect and openness to new ideas, we are able to achieve great things together, in our plants, and in our communities."

Honda's suppliers are spread across 55 of the state's 88 counties and include more than 30 vehicle parts and materials suppliers in the Dayton area.