CHICAGO • Honda Motor Co is investing US$267 million (RM1.12 billion) and adding 300 jobs at two Ohio factories as it begins mass production of the redesigned Accord flagship sedan for 2018.
The investments include US$220 million for hundreds of new welding robots and other upgrades at the company’s Marysville assembly plant, and US$47 million for its engine plant in nearby Anna to start building the company’s first turbocharged engine.
Honda already announced a combined US$149 million investment to begin building a new 10-speed automatic transmission for the Accord at factories in Tallapoosa, Georgia, and Russells Point, Ohio.
The investments help take the Accord in a sportier direction, with a lower and wider stance and more interior room. It’s a repeat of the playbook Honda followed with the Civic compact redesign for the 2016 model year, which enabled the Japanese company to withstand that segment’s slump better than the likes of the Toyota Corolla or Nissan Sentra.
“The Civic we introduced in 2015 is head and shoulders above the competition in retail sales,” said Ray Mikiciuk, assistant VP for Honda’s US sales operations.
“We fully expect the 2018 Accord to have the same impact on the mid-sized sedan segment.” In Marysville’s all-new welding shop, the world’s first high-volume laser brazing system joins the top and side of the car together so precisely that designers could eliminate an inch-wide black plastic strip that covered up the gap in prior models, said Steve Rodriguez, the engineering project leader for Accord.
Honda is on track to sell about 330,000 Accords this year, with deliveries down 4.5% through August compared to the same period last year. — Bloomberg