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10 Millionth American-Made Honda Accord Rolls Out

Maker now producing 1.3 mil vehicles North America annually.

by on Mar.20, 2014

The first American-made Honda Accord rolls off the assembly line on November 1, 1982.

There have always been skeptics.  They thought man couldn’t fly, or go to the moon.  They expected Columbus to fall off the edge of the Earth. And they didn’t expect Honda to do much better when it opened an assembly plant in the middle of Ohio nearly 32 years ago.

But that plant in the one-time farming community of Marysville has – like Columbus, Neil Armstrong and the Wright Brothers – proved the skeptics wrong. And sometime today the 10 millionth American-made Honda Accord will roll off the assembly line.

We're There!

It’s a significant milestone, but not the only one the Japanese maker has set lately.  It recently produced its 20 millionth vehicle in North America where it now operates an expansive array of production facilities, including its newest plant in Mexico which recently began producing the latest-generation of the little Honda Fit.  Honda also became a net exporter in 2013 and, going forward, expects to be shipping more vehicles out of its North American plants than it imports to the market.


Honda Moving US Corp. HQ to Ohio

With promotion, new global Honda COO will be based in Ohio.

by on Feb.22, 2013

Tetsuo Iwamura, shown at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, becomes the new chief operating officer of Honda's global automotive operations.

Honda will be moving its North American corporate headquarters to Ohio – where it set up Japan’s first auto assembly plant in the U.S. more than 30 years ago. Adding even more significance to the move is the promotion of Tetsuo Iwamura who will now serve as Honda’s global chief operating officer of automotive operations as well as COO of Honda North America.

About 50 executives and support staff are expected to make the move to Marysville, Ohio from the maker’s long-standing base of operations in the Los Angeles suburb of Torrance.  But the California facility will remain Honda’s sales and marketing base of operations for the U.S.

The Last Word!

“These organizational changes will improve the speed of decision-making and the efficiency of our business operations,” said Iwamura, who will now wear a number of hats including president and chief operating officer for North America, as well as the new assignments as the COO of Automobile Operations and risk management officer for Honda Motor Co., Ltd.


Honda Will Build Accord Hybrid in U.S.

Marysville, OH plant to add 50 jobs, 95,000 square-feet.

by on Jan.10, 2013

Honda will offer both a conventional hybrid and this plug-in version of its latest Accord sedan.

Honda’s oldest U.S. assembly plant will take on production of the maker’s newest gas-electric model when the Accord Hybrid goes into production in Marysville, Ohio later this year.

The move comes as part of a major shift in strategy by Honda, which like its Japanese rivals has traditionally retained production of its most technologically advanced models for its home island plants.  The Accord Hybrid Sedan will become the third of Honda’s latest gas-electric vehicles to go into production in North America, following the Civic Hybrid and Acura ILX Hybrid models.

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Honda will spend $23 million to upgrade the Marysville plant and add an estimated 50 new “associates” to handle the new model. The factory will add a new 95,000 square-foot facility specifically for the Accord Hybrid.


Honda, Toyota Reach U.S. Production Milestones

Honda Marks 30th year of production; Toyota rolls out 25 millionth US-made car.

by on Nov.05, 2012

The first Honda Accord rolls off the line in Marysville, Ohio on Nov. 1, 1982.

It’s a milestone month for two of the largest Japanese automakers – or as they increasingly tend to bill themselves, two of the largest foreign-owned U.S. automakers.

Marking its 30th anniversary since rolling out the first American-made Accord, Honda says it will invest $200 million in its original Ohio assembly operations.  Toyota, meanwhile, was a relative latecomer, launching U.S. production just 26 years ago, but that’s still given the Japanese giant enough time to reach 25 million vehicles assembled in the States.

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“We continue to evolve as a company thanks to their commitment to build the best vehicles in the market,” said Steve St. Angelo, executive vice president of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc., toasting the workers at Toyota’s expanding production base here.


Mazda Set to Build Last Car in the U.S.

Japanese maker will walk away from joint venture with Ford.

by on Aug.24, 2012

Ford will continue to build Mustangs at the AutoAlliance plant in Michigan.

Little Mazda Motors has long been known for doing things its own way, sticking with the rotary engine, for one thing, decades after other manufacturers gave up on the fuel-inefficient technology.  And the step the maker is expected to take today again runs counter to general industry trends.  But it leaves many industry observers wondering whether it will leave the Japanese maker at a serious competitive disadvantage.

Sometime today, the very last Mazda6 sedan will roll off the AutoAlliance International assembly line in Flat Rock, Michigan.  Mazda has been building cars at the facility in suburban Detroit for the last quarter century, having set up AAI as a joint venture with long-time partner Ford Motor Co.

The Last Word!

But Ford has all but completely walked away from that trans-Pacific partnership, selling off all but a small stake in Mazda in recent years and ending decades of product sharing programs.  Mazda, in turn, has been looking for a new partner and, with sales of the Mazda6 on the decline, it decided to walk away from the assembly plant joint venture – turning to a factory in Japan for the soon-to-be-updated Mazda6 model.


How Detroit Helped Give Its Market Away

Transplants increasingly dominate U.S. production.

by on Sep.14, 2009

Detroit dared the Japanese to "build cars where you sell them." Initially reluctant, makers like Honda -- which opened the first Japanese auto "transplant," in Marysville, Ohio, in 1982 - soon embraced the idea.

Detroit dared the Japanese to "build cars where you sell them." Initially reluctant, makers like Honda - which opened the first Japanese auto "transplant," in Marysville, Ohio, in 1982 - soon embraced the idea.

Be careful what you ask for, goes the old axiom, as you just might get it.  Someone should have told that to Harold “Red” Poling, the former Ford Motor Co. Chairman, who liked to taunt the Japanese, back in the early 1980s, to “build them where you sell them.”

Back then, the imports were still a relatively modest, if fast-growing force, and buoyed by a lopsided exchange rate, makers like Toyota and Honda were able to sharply undercut their Big Three foes.  Eliminate the yen from the equation, went the conventional Detroit wisdom, and the imports would lose their competitive edge.

It was an era when the mantra, “Buy American,” still resonated with some buyers, especially when spoken by the likes of Lee Iacocca, the Chrysler chairman and consummate TV pitchman.

Transplant to

Transplant to

But what really mattered to the Asian makers was the passage of so-called “voluntary” restraints on Japanese automotive imports.  The severe limits initially appeared to provide a real advantage for Detroit, immediately reducing both the sales and share of brands like Toyota.  If there weren’t enough Corollas, import-oriented buyers would have to settle for Ford Escorts and Chevrolet Cavaliers.  Better yet, Detroit could raise its prices – by hundreds of dollars per vehicle, according to research of that era, since it didn’t have to compete so hard.