Honda Starts $70-million Expansion in Ohio

Adding new production line for latest automatic transmission technology

Honda of America Manufacturing has started a $70-million expansion of its transmission plant in Russells Point, Ohio, to add a third assembly line and to relocate two existing lines. The moves will increase Honda Transmission of America Manufacturing’s output from 800,000 to 1 million units per year. It said the 200,000-ft2 expansion will create over 100 new jobs and update the plant to produce Honda’s latest automatic transmission — specifically for the 2012 Honda Civic that is commercially available in 2011.

The automaker manufactures Honda Civic models for North American customers at plants in Indiana and Ontario, and production volume is scheduled to increase in 2011.

In line with that increase, Honda Transmission of America Mfg. is adding a second shift in early 2011 that will involve 60 new jobs. And, it is in progress on projects estimated at $25 million to renovate the Ohio plant's aluminum machining lines, steel gear production, and increase flexibility on the two existing assembly lines. These improvements anticipate the start of domestic production of six-speed automatic transmissions next year for some Honda Odyssey models, manufactured at Honda Manufacturing of Alabama L.L.C.

"These projects represent Honda's ongoing commitment not only to our customers, but to our neighbors and suppliers who benefit from local production of the transmissions that go into Honda automobiles," Honda Transmission vice president and plant manager Jeff Tomko explained. "We also are committed to reducing the environmental impact of these new operations. No waste will be sent to landfills, and energy will be conserved through use of energy-efficient equipment and lighting systems."

According to Honda its investment in the Ohio plant will exceed $490 million when the current roster of projects and improvements are complete.

"The start of this project is recognition of the accomplishments of a great team of associates, and the strong partnerships we have established in this community," stated Honda Transmission president Yuji Takahashi. "Together, we have created a solid foundation for growth into the future to meet the needs of our customers."

Honda has been producing engines and assembling vehicles in Ohio since 1982. It has auto assembly in Marysville and light trucks in East Liberty. Honda's largest auto engine plant in the world is in Anna, Ohio, where it casts engine blocks and cylinder heads, and manufactures four-cylinder and V-6 engines for assembly plants in Ohio, Indiana and Canada.

Automatic transmission production for cars and light began in Ohio in 1996. With a $100-million investment, Honda Transmission added production of transmission gears in 2006 and four-wheel-drive assemblies in 2007. Honda Transmission currently employs 1,050 who manufacture transmissions and four-wheel-drive assemblies. It has annual capacity for over 800,000 automatic transmissions, 328,000 gear sets, 300,000 four-wheel-drive transfer cases and 150,000 four-wheel-drive assemblies.

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