Points of Origin


Do you know where the vehicles you sell come from? Do you know Honda has the capacity to build 75,000 motorcycles and 280,000 ATVs annually in the United States? Do you know that all Kawasaki ATVs are built in Nebraska?

In fact, Kawasaki became the first foreign vehicle manufacturer to enter the U.S. when it opened its motorcycle production facility in Lincoln, Neb., in 1974. At the time, the company was producing motorcycle and personal watercraft stateside, cranking out about 50,000 units annually during those first few years.

Today, Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp. USA (KMM) produces about 120,000 vehicles each year in Lincoln and 500,000 engines at a plant in Maryville, Mo. Its competition has followed: Honda now has production facilities in Ohio, South Carolina and Mexico; and Suzuki and Yamaha both produce vehicles in Georgia.

And there are others. Harley-Davidson operates production facilities in Missouri, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin; Arctic Cat builds product in Minnesota; Polaris has production facilities in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa; and Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) has plants in Quebec and Mexico.


Arctic Cat operates a 600,000 sq. ft. factory in Thief River Falls, Minn., and has plans for a 56,000 sq. ft. ATV engine manufacturing and research-and-development facility in St. Cloud, Minn.

Appropriated upon the company's return to market in 1983, the main facility produces Arctic snowmobiles, ATVs and Prowler UTVs. The planned engine facility will serve as a new production home for Arctic's 650 H1 motor.

Arctic Cat spokesperson Kale Wainer says the company has the capacity to build about 300 sleds and 300 ATVs per day in Thief River Falls.


Like much of its competition, BRP has manufacturing sites around the world. Its product portfolio includes Ski-Doo and Lynx snowmobiles, Sea-Doo watercraft and sport boats, Evinrude and Johnson outboard engines, Can-Am ATVs and roadsters, and Rotax engines and karts.

In North America, BRP operates production facilities in Valcourt, Quebec, Canada; Benton, Ill.; Sturtevant, Wis.; and Juarez, Mexico.

In late 2005, BRP announced it would move its ATV manufacturing operation from Quebec to Juarez, Mexico, where it already produced some personal watercraft. At the time, BRP said the external pressures brought on by a strong Canadian dollar and Asian competition compelled it to turn to a low-cost country to increase profitability. The decision called for a $26 million investment over three years.

The BRP-Rotax ATV engine facility opened in Juarez during the same period and is the firm's first investment outside Austria in 85 years.

BRP expects little to no impact on the employee headcount at the main BRP-Rotax facility in Austria due to BRP-Rotax's growing external business, but says it expects that approximately 150 jobs will be lost in Valcourt at the end of 2007 and another 150 in 2008.

"Our goal is to continue manufacturing while increasing profitability and becoming more competitive," says José Boisjoli, president and CEO, BRP. "We looked at various scenarios, and transferring our operations to Mexico just made more sense."

BRP isn't giving up on Valcourt, however. The company recently invested $8.7 million to revamp its snowmobile and PWC assembly lines there, and will invest about $13 million this year to build a "design-and-innovation center" on the campus.

The first phase of the project begins this spring with the demolition of buildings located between BRP's head office and the Bombardier mansion in Valcourt. The new building, at 54,000 sq. ft., is scheduled to house about 50 employees by 2008.


Harley-Davidson and Buell operate eight manufacturing facilities in North America. Harley produces motorcycles at three assembly facilities in two locations — in Kansas City, Mo., and at two separate buildings in York, Pa. — and Buell assembles solely in East Troy, Wis.

Harley-Davidson's latest production news, in addition to the new three-year labor agreement with employees in York, is a $120 million expansion of the company's air-cooled powertrain operations in Menomonee Falls, Wis. The 849,000 sq. ft. building, built in 1979 by Briggs & Stratton, was purchased by Harley-Davidson in 1996. The location produces Twin Cam 98 powertrains.

Harley-Davidson's oldest facility is in Wauwatosa, Wis. The 450,000 sq. ft. structure, built in 1943 as a propeller manufacturing facility for the B29 Super Fortress, was purchased by Harley-Davidson in 1947. Today it produces Sportster and Buell powertrains

Harley-Davidson builds Dyna, Sportster, VRSC and CVO models in Kansas City, and Touring, Softail and CVO models in York. The Kansas City facility was constructed in 1997 and became operational in 1998. It features three production lines and an area dedicated to CVO production.

Built in 1935 by the York Safe & Lock Co., the original York manufacturing location became a Harley-Davidson Touring model assembly site in 1974 while under ownership of AMF. It was included in the 1981 buy-back of the motorcycle company, and in 2003 a 350,000 sq. ft. Softail facility was added. The 1.5-million-sq.-ft. site features two production lines for Touring and Softail models, and two production lines for CVO models.

All Buell models are built on two production lines in East Troy. Buell moved into the 40,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility there in 1994. Four years later the company expanded into a second, 50,000 sq. ft. building on the property.


Although headquartered in Torrance, Calif., American Honda Motor Co. Inc. is supplied by powersports-related production sites in Marysville, Ohio, Timmonsville, S.C., and El Salto, Mexico.

Honda's powersports vehicle production plant in Marysville was the company's first manufacturing facility on the continent when it opened in 1979. Back then, the facility produced only one model: the CR250R.

Operated by Honda of America Manufacturing Inc., the Marysville plant now produces a number of products for export worldwide, including Gold Wings, the VTX 1300 and 1800, Shadow Sabre 1100 and Valkyrie Rune.

ATV production in Marysville began in 1989 with the FourTrax 300 and lasted until April 2005, when production was moved to the dedicated ATV facility in Timmonsville. The company produced more than 1.24 million ATVs in 16 years in Ohio.

Honda says the 260,000 sq. ft. Marysville facility has an annual production capacity of 75,000 motorcycles and 50,000 engines. Its 600 employees carry out plastic injection molding processes, steel and aluminum frame welding, frame assembly, engine assembly, final assembly, painting, testing and quality assurance, and shipping and export services.

The Timmonsville location has an annual production capacity of 280,000 Foreman, Recon, Rincon and Rancher ATVs; 266,000 engines; and 11,500 AquaTrax personal watercraft. The 433,000 sq. ft. ATV-and-engine portion of the facility opened in 1998; the 88,000 sq. ft. watercraft line opened in 2002.

On-site functions at Timmonsville include welding, high- and low-pressure die-casting, ferrous and aluminum machining frame assembly, plastic molding, painting, quality assurance and dynamic testing. Fuel tanks, differentials and swing arms also are produced there.

Established in 1988, Honda's El Salto facility in Guadalajara produces about 30,000 motorcycles annually. The El Salto site also produces the Honda CR-V automobile.


Kawasaki operates six businesses in the U.S., two of which pertain to consumer products: Kawasaki Motor Corp USA (KMC), the sales unit, and Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp. USA (KMM), the production unit.

KMM, a sister company and supplier to Irvine, Calif.-based KMC, has operations in Lincoln, Neb., and Maryville, Mo. KMM builds all of Kawasaki's ATVs, Jet Ski personal watercraft and Mule utility vehicles.

Kawasaki was the first vehicle manufacturer from Japan to open a manufacturing plant in the U.S. The consumer products manufacturing facility in Lincoln, located on 335 acres, opened in 1974 as a 286,000 sq. ft. plant. It now takes up nearly 1.3 million sq. ft. and employs nearly 1,000 workers.

Bruce Spilker, a KMM production supervisor, says the three ATV assembly lines in Lincoln produce about 100 units daily while the personal watercraft assembly line kicks out about 120 boats per day. Each production line is capable of mixed model production. Production schedules come monthly from KMC. A still-under-renovation fourth assembly line formerly was dedicated to motorcycle assembly; once completed, it will produce Mule utility vehicles.

KMM also supplies wheels made in Lincoln to BRP, Honda, Polaris and Suzuki.

KMM's Maryville plant opened in 1989 for production of general-purpose engines. Employing more than 600 workers, the facility has grown to more than 700,000 sq. ft. on 113.7 acres. KMM Research and Development Centers also are at the Lincoln and Maryville facilities.

Both the Lincoln and Maryville plants operate on a "just in time" supply method, which eliminates massive amounts of warehousing and over-ordering of parts. Production operations at the Lincoln facility include fiberglass molding, fabrication, welding, rim forming, painting and assembly; in Maryville workers complete die-casting, injection molding, machining, painting and assembly.


Polaris operates engineering and manufacturing facilities in Roseau, Minn., Osceola, Wis., and Spirit Lake, Iowa. It also manufactures engines in Hudson, Wis., in conjunction with Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd.

Polaris' 694,000 sq. ft. facility in Roseau employs 1,950 of the 2,500 people in the community. Built in 1963 as an update to a 1954 production site, the Roseau facility, located in Northern Minnesota, just below the border with Canada, produces about 200,000 ATVs, snowmobiles and Ranger vehicles each year.

Polaris' campus in Osceola includes three buildings for a combined 349,000 sq. ft. Purchased in 1991 and updated in 1998 to work with Victory product, the location produces engines and components for snowmobiles, ATVs and Victory motorcycles.

The smallest of Polaris' three production facilities, the Spirit Lake site encompasses 291,300 sq. ft. and employs 560 workers. The location assembles ATVs, Victory motorcycles and Ranger vehicles, producing about 60,000 units annually.


Suzuki established its base in the U.S. in Los Angeles in 1963, and formed American Suzuki Motor Corp. (ASMC) in 1986 by merging U.S. Suzuki Motor Corp. (motorcycles) and Suzuki of America Automotive Corp. (automobiles).

Suzuki Manufacturing of America Corp. (SMAC) became Suzuki's first U.S. manufacturing facility when it opened in Rome, Ga., in 2002. Sitting atop a 35-acre parcel, the 150,000 sq. ft. facility is responsible for final assembly of the Eiger and Vinson series quads, as well as the KingQuad 700 and the new KingQuad 450.

The facility employs about 270 workers responsible for fabrication; welding; injection molding; painting; component subassembly; engine, suspension, fender and tire mounting; final inspection; and packaging. The plant had an initial production capacity of about 40,000 units per year, but now kicks out close to 65,000 units.

"The primary supply markets are the United States and Canada, but exports also are expanding to Europe, Australia and New Zealand," says Glenn Hansen, advertising and marketing manager, ASMC. "The supplier base reaches across all of North America and into Japan. But because just-in-time delivery is crucial to our supply chain, SMAC secures local parts suppliers wherever possible."

In April, SMAC built its 200,000th ATV in Rome.


Yamaha Motor Manufacturing Corp. of America (YMMC) was formed in 1986 and served as Yamaha's first foreign manufacturing operation in a highly developed country.

YMMC is located about 30 minutes south of Atlanta in Newnan, Ga. The company manufactures four recreational product lines, including golf cars, ATVs, personal watercraft and side-by-side utility vehicles, in three facilities there. Encompassing 725,350 sq. ft., YMMC operates with about 1,300 employees.

YMMC began production of golf cars in 1987, personal watercraft in 1989, and rolled the first ATV — a BearTracker — off of the assembly line in 1998.

In 2002, Yamaha spent $36 million to expand its operation in Newnan, adding a 224,884 sq. ft. building dedicated to ATV production. The addition bumped annual ATV production capacity to about 100,000 units from a previous 60,000 units.

YMMC most recently signed a multiyear lease for a 200,000 sq. ft. warehouse adjacent to its production facilities. The company says the new facility will enable it to improve its incoming parts operation, which deals with about 140 outside suppliers.