The first Civics destined for export were shipped last week from the new Honda Manufacturing of Indiana plant (HMIN).The 2010 model Honda Civic Sedans will go on sale in Mexico, as well as 22 Latin American and Caribbean nations and U.S. territories of Puerto Rico, Guam and Saipan.
HMIN is Honda’s seventh auto assembly plant in North America and one of 16 major Honda manufacturing facilities in North America, including two under construction in North Carolina.
The Greensburg plant was dedicated in November 2008 just as the global Great Recession was taking hold after the collapse of Lehman brothers. Cutbacks at Honda production facilities ensued.
In its last quarterly report ending this past June, Honda’s global automobile sales totaled 766,000, a decrease of 20% from the same period last year. In Japan, unit sales amounted to 128,000 thousand units, the same level compared to the same period last year due mainly to favorable sales of Insight and Freed despite weak demand in the market. Vehicle sales outside of Japan decreased 24% to 638,000 from the corresponding period last year, due mainly to decreased vehicle sales in North America.
To cope with the drops in the U.S., Honda scheduled downtime, mostly Fridays off, late last year and into the summer this year. Inventories are now lower, partly as the result of Cash for Clunkers, which spurred small car sales and helped Civic and Accord models. Honda is now beginning to schedule some overtime production on Saturdays at its plants in Ohio and Alabama.
Unlike other manufactures, Honda did not eliminate any shifts or close plants during the past year. In fact, Honda has never laid off a full-time person in North America since it was the first Japanese maker to begin manufacturing operations here (of motorcycles) in September 1979. Car production followed three years later.
In general, Honda hourly associates during the Great Recession were given the choice of coming to work on non-production days and be paid for training and/or doing maintenance work; or they could use a vacation day and get paid; or they could stay home and not get paid.