Honda reportedly has no plans to ask its dealers to physically attend a dealer meeting in 2008. The OEM is foregoing the expense of a formal dealer meeting, opting instead for virtual meetings at dealerships.
Honda says the decision was based on feedback from its dealers, who wanted a format that allows them to spend less time out of their stores, gives them more time to digest new information, lets them involve more staff in a cost-efficient fashion, and provides direct access to materials and seminars throughout the year. Honda said it would use "evolving technologies" to bring meetings into the dealerships.
American Honda celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2009. According to the OEM, dealers will be asked to begin ordering '09 models this fall as the OEM provides them with the full model release schedule and information on dealer support programs. Most of the new models are scheduled to hit showrooms in early 2009.
Honda previously announced that it will stop producing motorcycles in the United States next spring, moving cycle production back to Japan and reassigning 450 employees to the company's auto lines in Marysville, Ohio. All motorcycle production from the Marysville plant and the Hamamatsu factory in Japan will be consolidated next year at a new motorcycle factory in Kumamoto.
"The move allows us to improve the competitiveness and appeal of our products by applying the latest technologies and production systems at one efficient location," says Akio Hamada, president and CEO of Honda of America Manufacturing.
Honda Motor Co. Ltd. announced in 2006 that it planned to consolidate all motorcycle production back in Japan. The new motorcycle plant in Kumamoto reportedly will incorporate advanced production technologies. For more background information, visit www.dealernews.com ("Honda's Reasoning Behind Marysville").
The Marysville plant opened in 1979 as the first Honda facility in the United States. Last year it produced about 44,000 Gold Wing touring and VTX cruiser bikes. The plant also produced ATVs but transferred that responsibility to Kumamoto and a South Carolina facility in 2005. The Marysville motorcycle plant was the catalyst for Honda's production operations in North America.
— Guido Ebert