US: Honda to boost US Accord output
Less than a week after building the first production Civic sedan at its new Honda Manufacturing of Indiana plant in Greensburg, Honda's US unit said it would begin production of V6 Accord sedans at its Alabama plant while increasing production of four-cylinder Accords at its original car production facility in Marysville, Ohio.
"These moves are part of a series of production adjustments that Honda is making in North America and globally to meet customer demand for its lineup of fuel-efficient passenger cars and light trucks, as well as to ensure the most efficient use of its manufacturing capacity," the automaker said in a statement.
"We are leveraging our flexible manufacturing network to meet the needs of our customers for more fuel-efficient products," added John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda Motor.
Most V6 Accord sedan production will shift from Marysville to Lincoln, Alabama, in mid-2009 while Marysville will increase output of four-cylinder versions, reducing imports into the US.
The Anna, Ohio, engine plant will boost production of four-cylinder engines while production of the Ridgeline pickup truck, as previously announced, will be moved from Alliston, Ontario, Canada to Alabama early next year.
The V6 Accords will be the first passenger cars built in Lincoln since the plant opened to produce the Odyssey minivan in November 2001. The Accord V6 sedan will be the fourth model produced on the plant's two assembly lines.
Alabama now builds the Odyssey and Pilot SUV plus V6 engines and will add the Ridgeline when that is transferred from Honda's 'No. 2 auto plant' in Canada early in 2009. Annual production capacity at Alabama will remain at 300,000 vehicles and 300,000 V6 engines.
Honda said Alabama would further reduce light truck production to the end of the fiscal year (31 March 2009) "to adjust output to current market conditions as well as to prepare for the launch of Accord production".
Boosting four-cylinder Accord sedan output at Marysville will allow Honda to reduce imports from Saitama in Japan (some 'wide body' US-style Accords are also made in Thailand for Asia and Australasian markets while production of the narrower Accord Euro, sold as an Acura in the US, is concentrated in Japan).
Marysville will continue to produce the V6 Accord sedan and coupe, Acura TL sedan and Acura RDX SUV on its two assembly lines.
Honda said over 80% of the Accords sold in the US to the end of September were built locally and this proportion would increase as a result of the plant reshuffle. Annual capacity at Marysville will remain at 440,000 units.
Meanwhile, the engine plant in Anna, Ohio, will shift some capacity from V6 to four-cylinder engines while, in Alabama, Honda will add V6 Accord engines to current production for the Odyssey and Pilot.
Anna produces engines for vehicles assembled in Ohio, Indiana and Canada and for export to other assembly plants overseas. Annual capacity will remain 1.18m engines.
Honda built a record 1,432,731 cars and light trucks in North America in 2007, including 1,015,462 units in the US. Last year, more than 76 percent of all Honda and Acura vehicles sold in America were produced there, the highest percentage for any international automaker.
Its latest plant, Honda Manufacturing of Indiana, last week began volume production of the Civic sedan at the new facility in Greensburg. The US$550m plant will ultimately produce 200,000 vehicles a year with 2,000 workers. The new plant began on one shift but plans to add a second next year.