In the latest move by a Japanese automaker to build its cars on American soil, Honda Motor Co. announced today that it will begin producing the Accord subcompact at its Marysville, Ohio, plant in 1982 and will increase the volume of parts supplied from the United States.
Company Vice President Hideo Sugiura said that Honda will start turning out its fuel-efficient Accord sedans equipped with 1,800-cubic centimeter engines at its $200 million plant now under construction near Columbus, Ohio, toward the end of next year. Honda plans to produce 12,000 units each month when full-scale operations begin in May 1984. He said that up to 50 percent of the parts used in production would be purchased from U.S. manufacturers.
In detailing the type of cars to be produced and the U.S. share in parts production, the announcement marks the final phase in Honda's plans for building passenger cars in the United States. The company kicked off those plans in January 1980 with a decision to acquire a 216-acre plant site in the Columbus suburb where it is already building motorcycles.
Honda officials talked earlier of producing only 10,000 units each month and buying 30 percent of the components required from U.S. makers. However, Honda decided to boost this figure, they said, following a recent review of U.S. parts manufacturers, of quality-control techniques and of the potential productivity of U.S. auto workers.
Honda's moves to step up efforts to "Americanize" its production follow a period of intense appeals by U.S. officials for the Japanese to begin producing cars in the United States to help alleviate unemployment in the U.S. auto industry, which they claim has been aggravated by booming Japanese imports.
A company spokesman said the Ohio plant will employ about 2,000 workers and supervisory personnel, most of them American.