breaking news

Unbeaten Wittenberg moves to No. 5 in poll

Honda invests $220M in new Accord to make big improvements

Honda’s recent $220 million investment in its redesigned Honda Accord is a clear signal the company has big expectations for its flagship sedan, analysts said, even at a time when buyers are increasingly flocking to trucks and sport utility vehicles.

About 1,400 workers from Clark and Champaign counties work for the automaker, and it employs about 14,500 Ohioans overall. Several area companies, including KTH Parts Industries in St. Paris and Parker Trutec in Springfield and Urbana supply parts for Honda.

READ MORE: Honda rolls latest model off assembly line, adds 300 jobs

MORE: Ohio-made SUV honored by Motor Trend

Honda’s Marysville manufacturing plant has a decades-old history with the car, which first rolled off the plant’s assembly line in 1982. Company officials said this week their investment at the Marysville plant is bigger than typically needed to update other models, but believe the results were worth the additional investment.

The newest Accord is the 10th generation of the model, and nine of those models have been built in Marysville.

“That car is our baby,” said Steve Rodriguez, Honda’s manufacturing leader for the Accord. “It’s the best Accord we’ve ever made and our team is really proud of it.”

RELATED: Honda, Toyota supplier to add 85 jobs, build $55M Springfield plant

Consumer demand for trucks and SUVs, often at the expense of sedans, has been dramatic, said Stephanie Brinley, an analyst for IHS Automotive. That doesn’t mean sales are low, she said, just that sedans aren’t quite as popular as they were several years ago. The Accord is still Honda’s third best-selling vehicle, behind only the Civic and CR-V.

Through November, Honda has sold about 300,500 Accords, which includes both the 2017 and 2018 models. That’s down about 4 percent compared to the same time last year.

But Brinley said automakers in general are looking for ways to make sedans more attractive for customers again. Customers looking to move cargo or passengers may want SUVs, she said, but that leaves more room for sedans to focus on driving performance and styling, for example.

The Accord is typically one of the top contenders in its segment, which also includes the Chevy Malibu and the Toyota Camry, Brinley said.

MORE AUTOMOTIVE NEWS: Buyers stretch out car loans to record lengths to lower monthly bills

“What we’re seeing in sedans now is with the shift to utility vehicles, you’re going to see automakers try and make their sedans a little more exciting than they had been,” she said.

During a tour of the Marysville plant this week, Honda leaders highlighted a variety of new manufacturing processes and investments they said set the newest Accord apart from older versions. The bulk of Honda’s $220 million investment included about $160 million for 340 new robots in the facility’s welding department. Another $60 million was invested in various departments throughout the plant.

DETAILS: Honda’s Logan County plant plays major role in redesign of CR-V

Among the improvements, the company developed and showed off a laser brazing process to more seamlessly sculpt the car’s roof and eliminate a strip of molding to improve the car’s look. Other changes included using an acoustic spray foam to reduce noise in the cabin and the use of high-performance adhesives to make the car’s body more rigid.

The company also is investing about $47 million at Honda’s nearby Anna engine plant to produce the Accord’s 1.5-liter and 2.0-liter turbocharged engines, the first time turbo technology has been used to power the sedan.

The newest Accord is also about 31 percent lighter, Rodriguez said, allowing for better fuel economy.

“We could not have done so drastic of a change and it would have cost less,” Rodriguez said in the company’s investment in the 2018 Accord. “But this is what we get.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Business

Macy’s ‘fine-tuning’ staffing at some stores
Macy’s ‘fine-tuning’ staffing at some stores

No Macy’s stores will close in the Dayton region in the near future, but staff changes could occur, according to a company spokeswoman. “We are fine-tuning our staffing needs in some of our smaller stores to better tailor our in-store resources with business needs and expectations, while providing the best possible customer service experience...
Walmart reportedly cutting more than 1,000 jobs
Walmart reportedly cutting more than 1,000 jobs

Retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is reportedly cutting more than 1,000 corporate jobs. The Wall Street Journal reported the retailer is cutting jobs at its headquarters, which comes as Walmart announced its store workers will receive raises and bonuses. Walmart employs more than 1.5 million people in the U.S., plans to cut more than 1,000 corporate...
Ohio-built Accord named car of the year
Ohio-built Accord named car of the year

A sedan built by workers in Marysville was named the 2018 Car of the Year, the third year in a row a Honda model has received the award. The 2018 Honda Accord, which began rolling off the assembly line in Marysville last year, beat out the Kia Stinger and Toyota Camry to claim the honor. The Japanese automaker invested about $220 million in the...
Michigan company acquires Butler County manufacturer
Michigan company acquires Butler County manufacturer

A Michigan auto supplier has acquired Trenton’s Magnode. Shape Corp. said it has reached terms to buy the Butler County aluminum extruder, Magnode. Those terms were not identified in an announcement. “The deal comes after a successful business relationship between that two companies that included collaboration on engineering projects, as...
Bitcoin prices are plunging. What’s really going on with cryptocurrency?
Bitcoin prices are plunging. What’s really going on with cryptocurrency?

If you own bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, it might be a bad day for you. The price of bitcoin plunged by 15 percent this morning, dropping below $12,000 for the first time since Dec. 4. Other cryptocurrencies have also seen price declines, with Ethereum falling by 20 percent and Ripple falling by 33 percent. The plunging prices are a stark...
More Stories