Honda Breaks Ground for New Plant in Alabama
1/4/2001 4:19:00 AM
Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, LLC (HMA) broke ground today for its new auto and engine plant in Lincoln by announcing it will accelerate the production launch from the original timetable of April 2002 to late 2001, and invest an additional $40 million to add new production operations. This will bring HMAs total initial investment in Alabama to $440 million.
HMA also announced that when the plant opens in late 2001 it will begin by turning out the hot-selling Honda Odyssey minivan and its V-6 engine.
Honda Motor Co., Ltd., President and CEO Hiroyuki Yoshino and Lincoln Mayor Carroll L. Lew Watson broke ground using Honda tillers, rather than a shovel, on the 1,350-acre site 40 miles east of Birmingham. Other Honda and community, state and federal officials participating in the ceremony included HMA President Mikio Yoshimi, Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, Congressman Bob Riley (R-AL) and local students.
We are breaking ground for more than a factory, said Yoshino. We are breaking new ground with a unique, comprehensive facility that will build vehicles and engines. And we are breaking new ground in our relationship with the people of Alabama.
Accelerating the start-up of mass production reflects the immense popularity of the Odyssey minivan since its fall 1998 introduction. Stepping up the start date for production demonstrates how important this new facility is to Honda, said Yoshimi, HMAs first president. The fact that we will add several new operations to what we originally announced last year also demonstrates our commitment to Alabama.
Expanding on its original plans, announced May 6, 1999, HMA will add several additional operations, including stamping of steel body parts, plastic injection molding and low pressure die-casting. These manufacturing processes mean that more of the substantial vehicle and engine production operations will be performed in Alabama.
Respectful of each other, respectful of the local environment and reflective of Alabamas diverse community, Honda associates in Alabama will work together to realize their own dreams, said Yoshimi.
Honda has made more than an investment in Lincoln, it has placed its trust in Lincoln, said Mayor Watson. In the not too distant future, when Alabama associates begin building world-class products for Honda, I know Honda will be happy with their decision.
Governor Siegelman spoke of a growing new partnership. It is here, at this site, that we build a foundation, a strong, unshakable foundation, upon which Honda and Alabama will build their future together, he said. It is here, at this site, that a company will rise, taking the best of Alabama and uniting it with the best of Honda.
HMA expects to begin interviewing non-exempt (production) associates this summer with the formal hiring process to begin in fall 2000. HMA will employ approximately 1,500 associates when it reaches its twin annual capacities of 120,000 vehicles and 120,000 engines.
Every major Honda plant in America and worldwide meets the strict ISO 14001 international environmental management standards. While specific measures are still being finalized, we anticipate that HMA will be one of the lowest emissions auto plants in the U.S., said Yoshimi.
When completed, HMA will increase Hondas capital investment in the U.S. to more than $5.2 billion, increase U.S. employment to more than 20,000 associates and bring to ten the number of major Honda manufacturing plants in North America, using all domestic and globally sourced parts.
Together with production increases at Hondas four other auto plants in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, HMA will help boost total North American auto production capacity to 1.16 million units by 2003.
Honda is the worlds preeminent engine-maker, building more than 10 million engines globally per year. Honda began operations in North America in 1959 with the establishment of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., Hondas first overseas subsidiary. Using domestic and globally sourced parts, Honda began automobile manufacturing in the U.S. in 1982. Honda designs, manufactures and markets its products in North America and worldwide. Honda currently builds products in nine manufacturing plants in North America, with three major research and development centers in the U.S.