Honda will invest $215 million in Ohio, the center of its North American operations, primarily to expand its engine-making capabilities.
The Japanese maker is in the midst of rolling out an array of hybrid and more conventional gasoline engines designed to cope with stricter new emissions and fuel economy regulations. The new package brings to $500 million the total investment in the Anna, Ohio engine plant during just the last three years.
The new investment also will cover training programs for the workers building Honda’s new “Earth Dreams Technology” engines and transmissions, noted Rick Schostek, senior vice president of Honda North America, Inc., during a presentation at an industry conference in Traverse City, Michigan.
“Even as we introduce more sophisticated technologies in our products and in our plants, we are working to ensure that our associates are equipped with the skills required for the manufacturing requirements of the future,” said Schostek. “We view this investment in Honda people as critical to our future success.”
Honda built much of its early reputation on a series of cutting-edge powertrain technologies, including the legendary CVCC. But despite being a pioneer in both fuel-cell and hybrid technologies, it has lost ground in recent years, slipping behind competitors both U.S. and Asian in terms of such features as direct-injection, 8- and 9-speed gearboxes and even hybrids.
(Detroit makers struggle to overcome production capacity shortages. Click Herefor the full story.)
The maker is racing to reverse that situation. It is in the midst of rolling out three new hybrid powertrain variants, ranging from a low-end, since-motor version for models like the Civic, to a three-motor hybrid going into the soon-to-be-revived Acura NSX.
Some of the investments in the Anna Engine Plant are going to new direct injection engine, while also allowing production of Honda’s continuously variable transmission at an Ohio gearbox plant.
(GM doubling investment in once-abandoned assembly plant. For more, Click Here.)
Honda claims investments of $2.7 billion in North America over the last three years. The maker now operates a broad mix of facilities that includes component and assembly lines. Four of seven North American vehicle facilities are located in the U.S., with two in central Ohio. The assembly line in Marysville celebrated its 30th anniversary last November.
(Honda earnings slide despite global sales increase. Why? Click Hereto find out._