Today marks the 30th anniversary of Honda building cars in the U.S. The first American-built car, a 1983 Honda Accord (pictured above), rolled off the assembly line in Marysville, Ohio, on November 1, 1982.
Since then Honda has expanded to a total of seven car plants, three car-engine plants, and two transmission plants in North America, giving the Japanese automaker total annual production capacity of 1.63 million vehicles on this continent (of which 1.08 million are built in the U.S.) Once a new plant in Mexico comes online to build Fit-series models in 2014, Honda will be able to produce 1.92 million vehicles per year in North America.
“For 30 years, Honda associates in our U.S. auto plants have challenged themselves and set high standards to create products that meet the needs of our customers here and in markets around the world,” president and CEO of American Honda Tetsuo Iwamura said in a statement.
Honda announced today that it will continue to increase its U.S. production by investing $200 million in its Russells Point, Ohio transmission plant and Anna, Ohio engine plant. The investment is expected to spur the creation of 200 new jobs at the plants. The Russells Point factory builds automatic transmissions for Honda and Acura vehicles, while the Anna plant currently assembles 4- and 6-cylinder engines, as well as driveshafts and brake components.
Honda Aircraft also announced this week that it would finally start production of the HondaJet, the company’s new business jet that has been delayed several times. The new jet will be built at Honda Aircraft headquarters in North Carolina. It uses GE Turbofan engines, and Honda claims the jet’s aerodynamic design will make it more fuel-efficient and quieter than competing models. The company previously certified the HondaJet for a maximum 43,000-foot altitude, and recently completed hot-weather test flights between North Carolina and Arizona.
Honda currently has a fleet of four HondaJets used for development work. A fifth plane, the first with a full production-ready interior, is currently under construction, and a sixth will join the Honda fleet next year. It’s still unclear when HondaJets will first reach paying customers, although the company is building a flight simulator at its facility in Greensboro, North Carolina.