Honda Manufacturing of Indiana Completes One Millionth Vehicle

Honda Celebrates 1 Millionth Group PhotoIn Greensburg on Wednesday, Honda Manufacturing of Indiana, LLC (HMIN) and its associates celebrated the one millionth car built at the plant.

This is quite an achievement for one of the auto industry’s premier companies — though definitely not its first major milestone in America. A release from Honda has more:

The completion of HMIN’s 1 millionth vehicle comes only six years after the start of mass production at the $800 million facility on October 9, 2008.

In addition to making the Civic, HMIN started manufacturing Acura ILX vehicles in 2012 before transferring the production to the Marysville Auto Plant in Ohio earlier this year. In total, 65,172 Acura ILX cars were built at HMIN during a three year period — helping us reach this production milestone.

“We have come a long way from where Honda Manufacturing of Indiana started in 2008 to where we are today,” said Bob Nelson, HMIN president. “Our associates have shown tremendous commitment and dedication to get us to this major milestone and we will continue to work to provide our customers with products of the highest quality. These values and beliefs are at the heart of what makes Honda great.”

Last week, at the New York International Auto Show, Honda announced the North American version of the 2016 Civic Sedan will be produced at the Indiana plant. Honda is preparing to launch its completely reimagined 10th-Generation Civic models beginning this fall.

HMIN became Honda’s fourth auto plant in the U.S. and its seventh in North America when it began production of Civic sedans in October 2008. With employment over 2,000 and capital investment exceeding $800 million, HMIN primarily manufactures automobiles for the United States, with some Civics produced for export to markets outside of North America. HMIN maintains one of the lowest environmental footprints of any automobile plant in Honda’s global production network.

Who’s Building What in Ohio?

Sometimes we forget that Ohio, despite its economic troubles, is quite a bit larger than our Hoosier state and has some proficient manufacturers. I came across a recent list of largest manufacturing employers in Buckeyeland.

There are 24 companies that employ at least 2,400 workers. The top 10 on that list:

  1. Procter & Gamble: 13,900
  2. Honda Motors: 13,500
  3. General Electric: 13,000
  4. General Motors: 10,500
  5. Marathon Oil: 9,400
  6. Whirlpool: 8,200
  7. Ford Motors: 6,200
  8. Emerson Electric: 5,650
  9. Berkshire Hathway: 5,300
  10. Timken: 4,500

A (Honda) ‘Civics’ Lesson: Going Natural is In

Our friends at Inside INdiana Business ran this release from Honda, illustrating how the car company is making efforts to move toward the future — and how its Indiana production facility is playing a key role:

Honda Manufacturing of Indiana, LLC (HMIN) today marked the start of mass production of the all-new 2012 Civic Natural Gas as it moves to increase production of the alternative-fuel Civic to support an expanding network of certified Civic Natural Gas dealers across the U.S. Engines for the Civic Natural Gas will continue to be supplied by Honda’s engine plant in Anna, Ohio.

HMIN will ramp-up production of the Civic Natural Gas (formerly the Civic GX) during the 2012 model year to meet anticipated increasing demand for alternative-fuel vehicles. The added production will support Honda’s growing network of U.S. Honda dealers qualified to provide retail sales and service support for the Civic Natural Gas, expanding from 72 Honda dealers in four states to nearly 200 dealers in 36 states, including one new Honda dealer in Indiana.

The 2012 Civic Natural Gas is powered by the cleanest internal combustion engine ever certified by the U.S. EPA and is the only OEM-made natural gas vehicle available for retail purchase in America. It is part of Honda’s growing portfolio of advanced environmental technology vehicles which include three hybrid models, the world’s most advanced fuel cell electric vehicle, the FCX Clarity, and the Fit EV electric vehicle and a Honda plug-in hybrid car, both launching in 2012. The fully redesigned 2012 Civic Natural Gas model goes on-sale October 18, 2011, with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $26,155.

“We’re extremely proud Indiana is the home for this all-new Civic Natural Gas,” said Jun Nishimoto, HMIN President. “As the sole producers of the Civic Natural Gas, our associates in Greensburg are making an important contribution to Honda’s global effort to reduce CO2 emissions and advance the deployment of vehicles that can help the transition away from gasoline to cleaner and more sustainable alternative fuels.”

A Lot of ‘Civic’ Pride in Greensburg

Last week, Chamber colleague Derek Redelman and I toured the impressive new Honda plant in Greensburg. We were joined by former Michigan governor and current National Association of Manufacturers President John Engler. The year-old, 1.3-million-square-foot facility is a state-of-the-art marvel of what manufacturing has evolved into with quality, efficiency, continuous improvement and worker satisfaction as key goals. The plant produces just under 400 Civics a day, including natural gas powered versions.

We were able to meet with Engler and Honda executives after the tour to discuss several topics. Engler said that Indiana has weathered the economic downturn better than many states and is well-poised to benefit from future manufacturing growth. The market for cars used to be 16 million to 17 million annually; industry leaders are hoping for 10 million this year.

Engler said that nationally there is a workforce skills shortage in many areas. Honda VP Rich Schostek said the company is happy with its workers in Indiana – more than 30,000 applied for 1,000 positions. Honda looks for good reading and math skills, as well as the ability to work in teams and communicate well. These are key abilities the Chamber has been advocating for to elevate the skills of Indiana’s workforce.

It was nice to get the perspective of a national manufacturing leader, as well as see one of Indiana’s more recent success stories.

Honda Recognizes Hoosier Supplier

Honda (Greensburg), an Indiana Chamber member, recently announced:

Honda leaders shared their direction for overcoming the difficult economy at the company’s annual supplier conference Thursday, saying that this time of challenging business conditions provides a unique opportunity to increase flexibility and make significant operational improvements.

Honda also recognized 60 of its suppliers for their top performance last year in the critical areas of quality, on-time parts delivery and productivity improvements. With one triple and 10 double award recipients, Honda presented 72 awards to its North American parts suppliers, including Ryobi Die Casting (USA), Inc., Shelbyville, Ind., recognized for outstanding Delivery Performance. Ryobi provides engine brackets for Honda production in Ohio. (Ryobi Die Casting was the only Indiana company recognized in this year’s awards from Honda.)

Several other suppliers to Honda Manufacturing of Indiana, LLC, based in Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, and Tennessee were also recognized.

Timing of the annual conference in the middle of a difficult economy is not easy, but does provide opportunities, said Hidenobu Iwata, president and CEO of Honda of America Mfg., Inc., and leader of Honda’s North American manufacturing. He added his appreciation for the strengthening partnership with suppliers to improve production characteristics.  “Our ultimate commitment is to our customer,” Iwata said.  “This has served us well in North America over the past 50 years and will continue to lead our way for the coming 50 years.  I would say this commitment is more important than ever before.” Continue reading

Honda Celebrating Major Milestones in 2009

So you like dependability? And you like fuel efficiency, too? Evidently, so do many Americans. This is why Honda has now been able to produce 20 million vehicles in North America. A statement from the company explains:

Honda produced its 20 millionth automobile in North America based on January 2009 production totals to be released this week…

“The production of 20 million cars and light trucks in North America was achieved through the ultimate in teamwork by our suppliers, business partners and dealers working together with Honda associates to create joy for our customers,” said Tsuneo Tanai, president & CEO of Honda of America Mfg., Inc. and head of Honda’s production operations in North America, covering the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Additionally, nearly 80% of all Honda and Acura vehicles sold in the United States were produced right here in North America.

According to Honda, the new Greensburg plant has produced approximately 6,800 vehicles since they began mass production last October. Also noteworthy is that this year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the American Honda Motor Co., Inc. — Honda’s first overseas subsidiary.

So congratulations to Honda, part of the Indiana Chamber member family.

Honda, Hollywood, and Drew Carey United at Last

According to Inside INdiana Business, a Honda Civic from the new Greensburg plant will be featured as a prize on CBS’s "The Price is Right":

A Civic from Greensburg’s new Honda plant may become the "next item up for bids." Officials with the plant say an Indiana-built Honda Civic will be featured as a prize on the CBS-TV show "The Price is Right." They believe it is the first time the game show has offered a non-domestic car as a prize.

The episode of the "The Price is Right" is expected to air on December 23.

The Honda plant opened earlier this year was dedicated just in the past week.

In conjunction with that ceremony, Honda Motor Company officials announced the plant will be the only North American facility to produce a natural gas powered Civic starting next year.

Kudos to our friends at Honda. Nothing like a little Plinko to start Christmas off right.

Monumental Day for Greensburg as Honda Plant Performs Its “Civic” Duty

We all have that crazy aunt or uncle that we can’t help but love. For me it’s an uncle who lives in the South, loves to leave me prank phone messages about politicians and happens to be a bigwig for an automotive company.

When it comes to business though, he’s, well, all business. So when I told him I was writing a story about the new Honda plant in Greensburg, he interjects, “We’re a pain, aren’t we?” — referring to the auto industry’s cautious interactions with the media.

Getting information about Honda for the BizVoice story did take a lot of patience, I will admit (about two months, but who’s counting?). But that’s OK. After all, they were hustling to wrap up two years of work on the $550 million plant.

Those two years of planning, training and building culminated with one (with many more to come) shiny black car early this morning. Greensburg’s plant began mass production today when its first four-door Civic rolled off the assembly line.

Congrats to both the city of Greensburg and Honda. We’ll be looking for more of those fuel-efficient Civics traveling along I-74.

Letters to Our Leaders: Laboring for a Solution

Automotive production in the United States is moving south. Yes, Indiana has been successful recently in attracting Honda and incorporating a Toyota expansion into the existing Subaru facility in Lafayette, but those have been exceptions rather than the rule.

Since Nissan chose Smyrna, Tennessee for a plant location in 1983, the Volunteer state and neighbors in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and South Carolina have become attractive locations for BMW, Kia, Honda and others. Good transportation and a strong workforce are two of the reasons. The biggest, according to some, is that these are right-to-work (RTW) states that allow the automakers (and other major employers) to avoid union concerns.

The 22 states with RTW laws have seen dramatic increases in economic development and personal incomes compared to those lacking the RTW measures. It’s not the lone reason, of course, but one that deserves full consideration.

One of the keys to progress for any state is standing out from the others. RTW would do that for Indiana in the Midwest and on a national level.

This week’s Letter to Our Leaders has the details.