Honda’s investment 42 years ago grows to 15K Ohio jobs

It was the first Japanese auto maker to make products in the U.S.

Forty-two years ago, an Elsinore CR 250 motorcycle rolled off the line in Marysville, making Honda the first Japanese automaker to manufacture in the U.S.

The experiment paid off.

Car production quickly followed on Nov. 1, 1982, at the adjacent Marysville Auto Plant. Now, nearly two-thirds of all Honda and Acura automobiles sold in the U.S. are made in America.

Those 64 original Ohio employees grew into 15,000 Ohioans now employed by Honda. This includes about 8,000 Miami Valley employees at the Anna engine plant and a pair of Troy distribution facilities. Some Dayton- and Springfield-area residents also commute to Honda’s central Ohio plants daily.

On Monday, the company announced it will build a new lithium-ion battery plant for electric vehicles in the U.S. with Korean battery supplier LG Energy Solution.

The Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous sources, reported the new factory will be in Ohio — and state leaders broadly hinted at its relevance to Ohio.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Ohio is working with Honda and LG to win the location decision for the new facility.

Here are other investments the company has in Ohio:

--- Honda’s first manufacturing facility opened in Marysville in 1982 and the 4 million square-foot facility is the company’s largest in Ohio. Workers there assemble the Honda Accord along with the Acura TLX and ILX.

----Honda operates a 2.1 million square-foot site in East Liberty where workers assemble the Honda CR-V and Acura RDX.

--- An engine plant in Anna that employs more than 2,800 workers.

---Honda manufactures its Acura NSX supercar at its Performance Manufacturing Center in Marysville.

---Honda’s investment in Ohio has been long ranging. The company recently opened a $124 million wind tunnel facility at its Transportation Research Center outside Marysville that contains one of the worlds most advanced wind tunnels and will allow the company to test several products, including race and electrical vehicles.

Construction for the 110,000 square foot facility that contains the wind tunnel began in 2017. It marks the company’s latest investment in Ohio, in which it has had a presence for over 40 years.

Honda’s initial $35 million investment in Ohio has since ballooned into $11 billion and $21 billion spent on overall U.S. operations.

“Honda’s success in Ohio has always been driven by the dedication and innovative spirit of our associates and this 40th anniversary milestone is a tribute to Honda associates, past and present, who have provided their energy, ideas and passion to create high-quality products for our customers,” said Mitsugu Matsukawa, president of Honda of America Mfg. “Based on the team we have in Ohio, and the opportunities ahead, I’m excited for the future of Honda in America.”

Honda said it has steadily increased its local purchasing of parts and materials with more than 600 original equipment suppliers in America and cumulative parts purchases of over $440 billion over 35 years.

Honda Facts & Figures

$35 million: Honda’s initial Ohio investment

$11 billion: Ohio investment over last 40 years

25,000: U.S. employees

15,000: Ohio employees

20 million: Vehicles produced at Honda’s three Ohio auto plants