Honda will invest about $150 million — including $49 million at the company’s facility at Russells Point — as part of a plan to produce a new 10-speed automatic transmission for front-wheel drive vehicles.
The company’s investment at the Russells Point facility will include new equipment and increased production capacity, said Chris Abbruzzese, a spokesman for Honda. No new jobs are planned for now as part of the investment.
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Honda is a major local employer, with about 1,400 workers from Clark and Champaign counties and about 13,000 Ohioans overall.
The automaker will also spend $100 million for a new assembly line and production modifications at the Honda Precision Parts of Georgia plant in Tallapoosa, Ga. That site produces more than 375,000 transmissions for Honda and Acura vehicles annually, according to information from the company.
Overall this investment will add to the more than $3 billion Honda has invested in its U.S. facilities in just the past four years, company leaders said.
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The Honda Transmission Manufacturing of America plant in Russells Point employs about 1,100 workers, and has been making transmissions since July 1996. It produces more than 1 million transmissions per year for Honda and Acura vehicles built in North America.
The Russells Point site will produce a P2 Planetary Assembly, a component of the transmission that will used in every gear setting in the new automatic transmissions produced in Georgia. The equipment at the HTM plant is in place and workers are currently making the assemblies, Abbruzzese said.
The new transmissions will include a low-friction design and will first appear in upper grades of the 2018 Honda Odyssey minivan that launched this spring. It will also be used for additional light truck and car models in the future.
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“The investment will provide for new equipment as well as the ability to repurpose existing equipment to increase gear manufacturing capability,” Abbruzzese said of the investment at the Ohio facility.
The Georgia facility will be the first in the world to lead production of the new transmission, Abbruzzese said. Along with the new assemblies, the Russells Point facility also makes continuously-variable transmissions, 6-speed and CVT gear sets, 4WD differentials and transfers for Honda products produced in North America.
“Manufacturing the new transmission in Georgia is a huge responsibility and a great opportunity for Honda associates to demonstrate the manufacturing capabilities and commitment,” said Masahiko Kayama, president of Honda Precision Parts of Georgia in a statement.
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Honda hit an all-time sales record last year, part of an industry-wide trend in which automakers hit a record 17.5 million vehicles sold. In 2016, more than 95 percent of all Honda and Acura vehicles sold in the U.S. were made in North America, according to information from the company.
By the numbers:
$150 million — Approximate total investment
$49 million — Investment at Russells Point
$3 billion — Honda investment in U.S. plants in past four years
375,000 — Annual transmissions produced at Honda Precision Parts of Georgia LLC
The Springfield News-Sun is committed to providing unmatched coverage of jobs and the economy in Clark and Champaign counties, including frequent stories on Honda’s impact on workers locally.
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