Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

October 11, 2013

Honda celebrates fifth anniversary

The Batesville Herald-Tribune

---- — It’s Charles Hampton’s job to inspect the quality of the Honda Civics and Acura ILXs that come off the Honda Manufacturing of Indiana (HMIN) assembly line.

But little did the Milan, Indiana native know five years ago at HMIN’s mass production startup, that he would one day follow some of those vehicles around the world.

In March of this year, Hampton made a trip to Dubai, one of many countries receiving exported vehicles from HMIN. “It was an incredible opportunity to be able to see how customers around the world view our products, and to see first-hand the expectations that they have of our vehicles.”

Hampton recalls when HMIN first began producing1 the fuel-efficient, 4-cylinder Honda Civic Sedan on October 8, 2008. HMIN began mass production with 1,000 associates working on one shift. Today, HMIN has two shifts of a 2,000-strong Hoosier workforce producing not only the Civic Sedan, but also the Honda Civic Natural Gas, the Acura ILX, Acura ILX Hybrid and the Civic Hybrid. HMIN also exports Civics to several countries across the globe including China, Korea and the Middle East.

Honda announced plans to build the Greensburg plant in June 2006, and broke ground for it in March 2007. HMIN is a comprehensive production facility that includes metal stamping, plastic injection molding, subassembly and final assembly and other processes.

HMIN’s brief manufacturing history has been filled with milestones and accomplishments reaching not only across North America but also around the globe with its export production.

HMIN is Honda’s fourth U.S. auto plant, and the seventh in North America. Production of the natural-gas powered Civic was added in May 2009, and production of Civics for export markets began in September 2009. It celebrated production of its 100,000th Civic in February 2010.

Remarkably, after little more than two years of mass production, HMIN earned the Platinum Plant award in the 2011 J. D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study (IQS). HMIN was one of only three plants around the world to win the award. The HMIN-built Civic also had the highest initial quality ranking in its segment in the same study.

The plant added a second shift of production in October 2011, doubling its production capacity to 200,000 vehicles per year. In April 2012, the plant began producing the Acura ILX and ILX Hybrid sedans, the first Honda or Acura hybrid models to be produced in North America. This year, HMIN began production of the Civic Hybrid and increase production by 50,000 units, investing $40 million and adding 300 new jobs. HMIN now has the capacity to produce up to 250,000 vehicles a year.

“Our team in Indiana has accomplished an incredible amount of success in just five short years, and overcome many challenges in doing so,” said HMIN President Bob Nelson. “Without the strong support Honda has had from our local communities, the state and beyond, we couldn’t have done it. We are excited about the future here in Greensburg, not only because our global customers embrace the products we make here, but also because Indiana has become our home.”