Honda celebrated the kickoff of full production of its top-selling Accord sedan by announcing the $267 million investment in the Ohio plant that produces the car. The new support will bring 300 jobs to the facility.
“The new jobs and production growth will enable us to meet anticipated strong demand for the new Honda Accord,” said Rob May, MAP plant manager, in a statement.
The money is really a reflection of Honda’s optimism about the midsize car market, and the redesigned for 2018 Honda Accord. Honda officials believe that despite the trend of rising utility vehicle sales in the U.S., the midsize market holds great potential.
Ray Mikiciuk, assistant vice president for Honda Sales, noted that there is a perception that the midsize segment is in significant decline; however, he points out that even though sales are off in 2017, the group is expected to exceed 2 million in sales this year.
(Honda pulls wraps off all-new 2018 Accord. For the story, Click Here.)
The current version of the Accord is tracking to sell more than 300,000 units this year. Through August, the company’s sold 221,013 units, which is down 4.5% on a year-over-year basis. That said, the Accord is still expected to be the best-selling sedan in the U.S. in 2017, he said.
“The new Accord is a very important vehicle to Honda and the industry overall,” Mikiciuk said in a conference call with reporters.
He noted that when the new Civic was introduced last year, its sales increased significantly in the wake of the debut, and Honda is expecting the same result when the new iteration of the Accord hits showrooms next month.
The new model enjoys not only a complete redesign on the exterior, but a variety of changes in the structure of the vehicle as well. These updates required the more than $250 million update to the plant in Marysville, Ohio, where the Accord is built.
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The investment total includes $220 million in new technologies and processes, including a new $165 million weld department featuring 342 state-of-the-art welding robots and $47 million at Honda’s nearby Anna, Ohio, engine plant for production of the 2018 Accord’s 1.5-liter and 2.0-liter turbocharged engines, the first application of turbo power to the Accord line-up. Honda phased out its six-cylinder Accord engine for 2018.
Additional new technologies applied to the manufacture of the new Accord include a laser brazing process for the Accord’s roof and new stamping techniques to produce its more sharply sculpted body.
In addition, Honda debuts Accord’s first-ever use of high-performance structural adhesives for improved body rigidity, and the application of acoustic spray foam to the body for enhanced cabin quietness.
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Moreover, Marysville has added a new sub-assembly process for the Intelligent Power Unit that will help power the new Accord Hybrid, which will return to production in Ohio.