Honda To End Motorcycle Production In U.S.

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Honda of America announced it will stop producing motorcycles in the United States next spring, moving cycle production back to Japan and reassigning the 450 affected employees to the company's auto lines in Marysville, Ohio.

Honda says the move reflects a new global strategy for the production of the company?s motorcycles. All motorcycle production from the Marysville motorcycle plant and the Hamamatsu factory in Japan will be consolidated in 2009 at a new motorcycle plant in Kumamoto, according to a corporate statement.

"This move allows us to improve the competitiveness and appeal of our products by applying the latest technologies and production systems at one efficient location," said Akio Hamada, president and CEO, Honda of America.

The Marysville Motorcycle Plant opened in 1979 as the first Honda plant in the U.S. Last year, it produced about 44,000 Gold Wing touring and VTX cruiser bikes. The plant formerly produced all-terrain vehicles and transferred that responsibility to Honda of South Carolina Mfg. and the Kumamoto, Japan, in 2005. The Marysville motorcycle plant was the catalyst for Honda's production operations in North America.

"This was a complex decision tied to the important role that Honda in Ohio plays within our North American automobile operations," Hamada said. "We will focus our associates' abilities on our goal to produce cars, light trucks and engines in Ohio that are of the highest quality and value for our customers."