Honda hosted an event Tuesday to celebrate the start of mass production for the 2019 Acura RDX sport utility vehicle, including a roughly $54 million investment at the company’s manufacturing site in East Liberty, Ohio.
Acura is the company’s luxury brand, and the SUV has sold more than 375,000 units since it was first introduced in 2006. The company has manufactured the vehicle in the U.S. since it was first introduced, but this will be the first model that was also designed and developed in the U.S., according to information from the company.
“This new RDX defines the future of Acura, and our Ohio team did an incredible job preparing this first in a new generation of Acura vehicles for our customers,” said Jim Hefner, plant manager at the East Liberty Auto Plant in a news release. “Paired with a new Ohio-made 2.0-liter Turbo engine, an all-new platform and a host of new technologies, the 2019 RDX sets a new high bar for style, performance and sophistication in a compact luxury SUV.”
Company officials said the five-passenger SUV underwent a complete redesign. The vehicles are expected to begin arriving at Acura dealerships beginning in June.
On Monday, Honda announced a separate plan to invest more than $30 million at three facilities in Ohio related to the launch of the new 2019 Honda Insight hybrid model at Honda’s facility in Greensburg, Ind.
According to information from Honda, the company’s $54 million investment included new technologies at East Liberty to develop the SUV’s moonroof and to use new structural adhesives to strengthen the vehicle’s body.
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Five of the six models in the Acura lineup are made in Ohio, according to information from the company. The ILX and TLX luxury sports sedans are assembled at the Marysville Auto Plant while the RDX and MDX luxury SUVs are assembled in East Liberty. The Acura NSX supercar is built at the Performance Manufacturing Center in Marysville.
About 1,400 workers from Clark and Champaign counties work for the automaker, and it employs approximately 14,500 Ohioans overall.
Honda spent a record $32.4 billion for parts and materials from U.S. suppliers for its North America operations last year, including firms in Clark and Champaign Counties. Of that, company officials said about $10 billion was spent in Ohio with 173 suppliers.