Honda will suspend shift on Marysville production line

Honda plans to shut down a second-shift production line at its Marysville assembly plant starting this summer for a “few years”  — a move that will not result in worker layoffs, the company said Thursday.

Anita Sipes, spokeswoman at Honda of America Manufacturing, shared a prepared statement, confirming the shut-down of a line that contributed to the production of about 55,000 vehicles a year.

The move will mean no layoffs, as the company hopes to manage the change through worker “attrition,” Sipes said.

“There will be no immediate impact on employment,” she said.

She said Honda is offering "contingent" or temporary workers a "voluntary" incentive to leave plant employment. She declined to say how many of the Marysville plant’s 4,700 workers are considered contingent.

The second-shift Line 1 production suspension begins Aug. 1.

The move also affects engine production at the Anna plant, about an hour north of Dayton, but Sipes could not immediately quantify the impact there.

Slackening demand for sedans has challenged the Marysville plant in the recent past.

In 2017, Honda said it cancelled production days and added another week off to production workers’ normal one-week break in July.

The plant had about 4,000 workers in 2017.

In the spring of 2018, Honda trimmed production of its flagship 2018 Accord at the company’s Marysville plant as shoppers continued to bypass sedans in favor of SUVs, cross-overs and pickup trucks.

“The market demand continues to shift from the sedan to SUVs and light trucks,” Sipes said Thursday. But she added that company remains committed to sedans, believing that “multi-cultural” and younger consumers continue to favor that product.

The automaker has some 1,000 Dayton-area employees, the company has said in the past, and more than 1,400 people from Clark and Champaign counties work at Honda and the automaker employs about 13,000 Ohioans overall.

An Ohio Department of Job and Family Services spokesman said Thursday afternoon the department had received no WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notice) letter from Honda about any impending lay-offs.

Honda has never laid off full-time staff members or employees in Ohio, Sipes confirmed Thursday.

“We have a long history of never having a layoff (in Ohio),” she said.

The Marysville plant assembles the Accord, the CR-V and several Acura models, while the Acura NSX is assembled in a different plant nearby but also in Marysville.

General Motors announced last year the closure of five North American plants, in part due to the widespread consumer shift away from sedans.

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