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Honda Continues Growth in Alabama
 Date: November 21, 2002 18:30
 Submitted by:  Tuan
 Source: Honda Press Release
 Credibility Rating: N/A


LINCOLN, Ala., Nov. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, LLC (HMA) today broke ground on its new $425 million assembly line. The ceremony marks the beginning of construction on the second assembly line, which will increase employment to approximately 4,300 associates, double production capacity to 300,000 engines and vehicles per year and increase Honda's investment in Alabama to more than $1 billion.

"The foundation of Honda is our people. We saw this community as a place where Honda could grow," said Koichi Amemiya, president and CEO of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "We believed that the people from this community would make great Honda associates. And we believed that the community would welcome and support our efforts."

The expansion will increase total employment by 2,000 associates and will add more than 1.1 million square feet to the existing 1.7 million-square-foot facility.

"The growth we celebrate today is not simply about size," said HMA President Masaaki Kato. "The key to our growth as a company is the growth in the capabilities of HMA associates, the growth of our partnership with the State of Alabama and the growth in our relationship with this community."

HMA currently employs more than 2,300 associates, producing about 150,000 Odyssey minivans and V-6 engines each year. HMA reached this capacity rate -- 650 Odyssey daily -- in September 2002.

A decision regarding what model will be produced on the second line will be made closer to start of mass production. As with HMA's existing operations, the new line will incorporate Honda's New Manufacturing System, which allows for production flexibility based on customer demand.

The new assembly line will be constructed adjacent to the existing facility on HMA's 1,350-acre site near Lincoln. It will mirror the current facility's operations with synchronous body and engine assembly under one roof. Honda unveiled an artist's rendering of how the completed HMA complex will appear when construction of the second line is completed in early 2004.

Operations for stamping, plastic injection molding, die-casting and machining of engines and engine assembly will be increased at the existing facility to supply both assembly lines.

When completed in 2004, Honda's capital investment in North America will total more than $7 billion. North American employment will rise to more than 28,000 associates.

Honda began operations in North America in 1959 with the establishment of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., Honda's first overseas subsidiary. Using domestic and globally sourced parts, Honda began assembling motorcycles in America in 1979, with U.S. automobile manufacturing starting in 1982. Honda designs, manufactures and markets its products in North America and worldwide. Honda currently builds products in 11 manufacturing plants in North America, with three major R&D centers in the U.S.

Honda also is the world's preeminent engine-maker and built more than 12 million engines globally in 2001 for its diverse line-up of automobiles, motorcycles and power products.
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