Honda of South Carolina To Construct New Plant

New Facility to Assemble Honda's New Personal Watercraft

2/28/2002 3:58:09 PM

Honda of South Carolina Mfg., Inc. (HSC) today announced that it has begun site preparation for the construction of a new facility for the assembly of the new Honda AquaTrax personal watercraft (PWC). The new $11 million plant will begin operation in December 2002, and will be located adjacent to HSC's existing facility that produces and assembles all terrain vehicles (ATVs) and engines.

HSC currently employs 1,500 associates and will hire an additional 150 associates beginning in April 2002. HSC has the capacity to produce 250,000 ATVs annually and celebrated the assembly of its 500,000th ATV in November 2001. HSC will have the ability to produce 100 PWCs per day at full capacity. Annual production will be based on market demand. Under the current plan, HSC will produce approximately 8,000 units of the 2003 model AquaTrax.

"The construction of a second Honda plant in Timmonsville reaffirms our original decision to locate in South Carolina," said HSC President Hideki Ikegawa. "This decision was based on increased demand from our customers in North America and the outstanding performance of our Honda associates in South Carolina. They deserve this new challenge."

Honda's first effort in the PWC category, the all-new Honda AquaTrax F-12 was released on February 6, followed by the turbocharged F-12X. Initially, PWCs are being built in Japan. These new PWC models not only set a new standard for performance, but were the first 4-stroke engine watercraft to gain certification for year 2006 emissions standards from both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB). HSC will assemble both the F-12 and the F-12X models.

"Honda ATVs are the best in the industry," said Bill Kalp, HSC senior vice president. "We are excited to have the opportunity to build what we believe to be the best personal watercraft in the world as well."

HSC began production of ATVs in Timmonsville in July 1998, with ATV operations currently representing a capital investment of $100 million. The number of ATVs produced has expanded from two to the current roster of eight models. Engine production has been added and the annual capacity is now 250,000 ATVs. HSC currently produces eight ATV models, exporting ATVs to countries including Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. HSC also provided key ATV components -- including engines, fuel tanks, differentials and swing arms -- to Honda's Ohio motorcycle plant for ATV assembly there.

HSC production processes already include high- and low-pressure die-casting, machining, engine assembly; welding; frame assembly; painting; plastic injection molding and dynamic testing. While HSC assembles engines for the majority of its ATV models, engines for the AquaTrax will be produced at Honda's Hamamatsu Plant in Japan.

Honda is the world's largest producer of engines, with more than 12 million customers globally in 2001 for its diverse line-up of automobiles, motorcycles, power products and ATVs. Honda began operations in North America in 1959 with the establishment of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., Honda's first overseas subsidiary. Using local and globally sourced parts, Honda began assembling motorcycles in America in 1979, with U.S. automobile manufacturing starting in 1982. Honda designs, manufactures and markets products in North America, altogether employing more than 25,000 associates in North America. Honda currently has 11 manufacturing plants in North America with 120 plants in 31 countries worldwide.