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Government and community leaders joined Honda Transmission of America Manufacturing Inc. on December 17 to celebrate the start of a $70 million 200,000-square-foot expansion project that will create more than 100 full-time jobs and increase the plant's capabilities to manufacture Honda's latest transmission technologies when the new production line begins in 2012. In addition to the expansion, the company also announced that it is currently adding 60 jobs for the start of a second shift in early 2011, and that an additional $25 million in renovation projects are under way to increase plant flexibility.
Honda's investment in the Russells Point, Ohio, plant will exceed $490 million when this latest expansion and other renovations are completed. The $70 million expansion project includes installation of a third assembly line, along with other new operations for the production of Honda's most advanced automatic transmissions, and relocation of the plant's two existing assembly lines into the new manufacturing space.
Community leaders joined Honda associates to participate in the groundbreaking ceremony for the project, called "Transmission Technology for the Future." In addition to advanced manufacturing, the project increases production flexibility for the entire plant, including improvements in overall product flow. It also will increase the plants capacity to produce more than 1 million automatic transmissions annually, from 800,000 now.
"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," said Honda Transmission president Yuji Takahashi. "Together, we have created a solid foundation for growth into the future to meet the needs of our customers."
Prior to the ceremony, Jeff Tomko, Honda Transmission vice president and plant manager, announced that a second shift will start early next year to produce automatic transmissions for the all-new 2012 Civic that goes on sale in spring 2011. Honda manufactures Civic models for North American customers at plants in Indiana and Ontario Canada. The hiring of 60 fulltime associates is under way to prepare for the increased production.
In addition to the $70 million expansion, Honda has invested approximately $25 million to renovate the plant's aluminum machining lines, steel gear production, and increase flexibility on the current assembly lines. These modifications will result in the domestic production of six-speed automatic transmissions next year for some Honda Odyssey models, manufactured at Honda Manufacturing of Alabama LLC.
"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," Tomko said. "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."
Honda Transmission initially announced its expansion plans in October during the acquisition and rezoning of 60 acres adjacent to the current facility, now occupying 196 acres. Upon completion of the expansion project, the plant's manufacturing operations will encompass 933,000 square feet.
Since starting production of automatic transmissions in 1996, the plant has steadily expanded to keep pace with Honda's growth into new passenger car and light truck models. As part of a $100 million investment, Honda Transmission added production of transmission gears in 2006 and four-wheel-drive assemblies in 2007. That project, which doubled the plant's size and created 100 jobs, localized production of most steel gears and four-wheel-drive assemblies.
The impact of Honda Transmission's production extends to some 50 domestic suppliers that provide more than 500 parts for the plant's production.
Honda Transmission currently employs 1,050 associates who manufacture transmissions and four-wheel-drive assemblies for automobiles produced at the Marysville and East Liberty auto plants in Ohio, as well as other plants in North America. The plant has the annual capacity to produce more than 800,000 automatic transmissions, 328,000 gear sets, 300,000 four-wheel-drive transfer cases and 150,000 four-wheel-drive assemblies. Honda also operates a plant in Georgia that manufactures automatic transmissions for Honda Manufacturing of Alabama.
More About Honda's Ohio Operations
Since starting auto production in 1982, Honda's two Ohio auto plants have manufactured more than 14 million vehicles. In Anna, Ohio, Honda's largest auto engine plant in the world manufactures four-cylinder and V-6 engines for automobile production in Ohio, Indiana and Canada.
In addition to manufacturing, Honda has established substantial R&D and engineering operations in Ohio, along with a large regional parts distribution center and other operations that support product development, manufacturing and sales in North America. Among all its operations, Honda directly employs approximately 13,500 Ohioans and tens of thousands more through its suppliers and other business partners