Honda's Reasoning Behind Marysville

Honda announced in late February that it plans to discontinue production of motorcycles in North America in spring 2009 to focus on its growing North American automobile operations. In fact, the move serves as yet another step in a strategy that has been unfolding since 1998, when the company announced its "2010 Vision" — a three-part business plan that calls for the expansion of the OEM's global operations to 2010.

Honda says all motorcycle production from the Marysville motorcycle plant and the Hamamatsu factory in Japan will be consolidated in 2009 at a newly constructed motorcycle plant in Kumamoto, Japan. Honda says there will be no layoffs in the Ohio, and says the 450 Marysville motorcycle plant associates will remain employed working on cars, light trucks, engines and major components.

The Marysville motorcycle plant opened in 1979 as the first Honda plant in the United States. Last year, it produced approximately 44,000 Gold Wing touring and VTX cruiser bikes. The plant formerly produced all-terrain vehicles but transferred that responsibility to Honda of South Carolina Mfg. and the Kumamoto factory in 2005.

Part Of The Plan
Honda Motor Co. Ltd. first announced a plan to consolidate all motorcycle production in Japan in September 2006. Earlier that same year Honda Motor Co. President Takeo Fukui said the company intended to increase North American auto production capacity from 1.4 to 1.6 million in 2008.

The strategy was to include:
  • Construction of a new engine plant close to Honda of Canada Mfg.
  • Construction of a new auto plant in the U.S. with an annual capacity of approximately 200,000 vehicles; and
  • A $75 million expansion to Honda of America Mfg.'s Anna, Ohio, engine plant to increase the number and types of engine components produced there.
As Honda intended, construction of a 9,600-square-foot addition to the Anna engine plant began that summer. The expansion now assists in the production of four-cylinder camshafts, crankshafts, conrods and spincast cylinder sleeves.

In March 2007 Honda broke ground for construction of Honda Manufacturing of Indiana, LLC. (HMIN). Located near Greensburg, Ind., the plant now produces the Honda Civic.

And, to achieve the final part of the strategy outlined in 2006, an engine plant in Alliston, Canada, is scheduled for completion later this year, located next to Honda's two existing automobile production facilities. At full capacity, the new engine plant will produce approximately 200,000 four-cylinder engines a year, supporting Honda Canada built vehicles.

Honda says its new motorcycle plant in Kumamoto, Japan, will lead the company in advanced motorcycle production technologies. The current motorcycle plant in Hamamatsu, Japan, is being transitioned to a transmission gear production plant covering all processes from molding to machining.