Honda has tapped a tried-and-true manager to implement new automaking techniques at its new plant in Alabama.
Honda Motor Co. Ltd. last week appointed Mikio Yoshimi president of the new subsidiary, Honda Manufacturing of Alabama LLC, effective April 1.
Yoshimi is currently executive vice president of Honda of America Manufacturing Inc. in Marysville, Ohio. He is in charge of administration, accounting, finance, corporate communications, information systems and environmental issues.
Yoshimi, 52, has been a low-profile executive, but he has been a key player in Honda's North American expansion during the past 20 years.
He came to the United States in 1979 to help launch the Honda motorcycle plant in Marysville.
That plant since has grown into a multifactory automaking complex that builds more than 600,000 cars and their components a year.
Yoshimi worked in Japan for 12 years and then returned to the United States as vice president of human resources and administration at the company's U.S. sales headquarters, American Honda Motor Co. Ltd.
Two years ago, he became a director of another Honda plant startup, an all-terrain vehicle assembly plant in South Carolina.
The latest venture will produce light trucks in Lincoln, Ala., near Birmingham.
The company has said little about what it intends to do with the plant, but Honda has said that it wants to try a new approach to building vehicles.
The company will depart from its normal production floor layout and create assembly lines that bring more pre-assembled components into final assembly.
Honda also intends to build vehicles and their engines simultaneously in Lincoln, bringing customer orders and production scheduling closer together than in a typical auto plant.