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

Health care a top ballot box concern for older Ohioans
Health care a top ballot box concern for older Ohioans

The majority of Ohioans over the age of 50 say concerns about health care will affect their vote this fall. About 81 percent said health care is a “very important” issue when it comes to their vote for Congressional candidates this fall. About 80 percent said Social Security is a very important issue and 76 percent said Medicare is, according...
670-mph hyperloop from Ohio to Chicago moves closer with new regulations
670-mph hyperloop from Ohio to Chicago moves closer with new regulations

An exceptionally fast transportation system may be a step closer to Ohio. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HyperloopTT) and German insurance company Munich Re said Monday that a set of core safety requirements and certification guidelines for the fledgling mode of transportation have been created. The hyperloop is expected to transport pods of...
A ‘clean’ meatloaf

Dear Heloise: I have a pretty good hint: When you MAKE MEATLOAF, the cleanup is a pain in the you-know-where. I spray the pan with any kind of cooking spray, then line it with foil. When you take the meatloaf out of the pan, there is very little cleanup. — Linda W., Bakersfield, Calif. ‘lettuce’ explain Dear Heloise: I buy iceberg...
Purina Nutrition moves distribution operation to Dayton site
Purina Nutrition moves distribution operation to Dayton site

Land O’Lakes Inc./Purina Animal Nutrition is in the early stages of anchoring a distribution operation near Dayton International Airport, occupying the second building built off Concorde Drive by NorthPoint Development. “We are a distribution center,” Teresa Devall, a warehouse manager for Land O’Lakes/Purina Feed, said Monday...
Ahead of winter snow, Ohio Department of Transportation is holding a job fair
Ahead of winter snow, Ohio Department of Transportation is holding a job fair

The Ohio Department of Transportation District 8 is holding a job fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22. The winter seasonal positions are for all of the District 8 counties: Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Greene, Hamilton, Preble and Warren.  The job fair will be held at ODOT’s Hamilton County garage, 1400 East Seymour Avenue in Cincinnati...
More Stories