Honda to begin production of cars at its Ohio complex next month
The auto plant is a 900,000-square-foot facility with stamping, welding, paint, plastic injection and final assembly operations. Total investment is about $250 million. A Honda executive said 80 percent of that was spent to buy machines and equipment from American manufacturers.
Local content will be about 50 percent at the outset. Production is scheduled to reach capacity of 150,000 cars a year in 1984.
American Honda wasn't the first foreign maker to build cars in the United States. Volkswagen started the modern transplant action in 1978 when it bought a half-finished Chrysler plant in Westmoreland, Pa., and began turning out Rabbits.
It produced 1,197,411 Rabbits, Golfs and Jettas before it closed July 14, 1988. VW's U.S. sales had shrunk to the point that it was no longer economically feasible to build cars here.
For the purist, Rolls-Royce built 2,944 cars in Massachusetts from 1921-31. And in 1905-07, the American Mercedes was produced in Long Island City, N.Y., under license from the German manufacturer.
But Honda led the Japanese movement, which was a perfect example of the adage, 'Be careful what you ask for ... You may get it.'
For years, the American makers had scoffed, 'The Japanese sell cars here; why don't they build them here?'
Bite your tongues, Americans! Honda's manufacturing activity in North America was followed by Nissan, Toyota, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Isuzu, Acura and Suzuki. Last year they produced nearly 3.2 million cars and light trucks in North America, 18 percent of total production.
In recent years, Mercedes-Benz and BMW have set up U.S. assembly plants for sport-utilities. Mercedes builds them in Vance, Ala.; BMW in Spartanburg, S.C.