The Honda Heritage Center in Marysville officially opened its doors today, offering the world a glimpse of the innovative history and growth the company has achieved in Ohio and North America during the past 55 years.
"The new Honda Heritage Center is a collection of Honda dreams in the form of products that are responsible for millions of customer relationships," said Takuji Yamada, chief operating officer of Honda's North American regional operations. "The great variety of products on display – including powersports, power equipment and automobiles, as well as aviation and robotics – together with the major milestones highlighted, tell the stories of Honda associates in Ohio and from throughout North America."
Ohio Gov. John Kasich joined Honda officials and state and local community leaders to celebrate the opening of the new $35 million, 160,000-square-foot facility, which includes a museum, Technical Development Center and office space for Honda North America.
The new museum, which will open to the public in January, pays tribute to Honda's unique tradition and highlights products and significant milestones in the history of Honda in North America, including a natural focus on the role of Honda's operations in Ohio. A vision to dream big is evident throughout the museum, exemplified by the visible evolution of the motorcycles, automobiles and power equipment on display. In addition, the space honors groundbreaking new Honda technologies such as a replica of the humanoid robot ASIMO and the HondaJet, which will begin customer deliveries in 2015.
In addition to the Honda museum, the building is home to a new Technical Development Center, which is focused on advancing the skills of Honda engineers, equipment service technicians, and production associates involved in auto production at Honda plants in Ohio and throughout North America. This will help prepare Honda and its associates for the 21st century of manufacturing where success will be defined by the successful interaction between associates and advanced technology.
According to Tom Shoupe, chief operating officer and executive vice president of Honda of America Mfg. Inc., the Technical Development Center is significant as Honda's North American operations take on an even greater role in the development and production of global Honda models.
"Honda is committed to investing in its team of associates and this new training center will allow our associates to continually develop their manufacturing skills so that they can lead the production of critical global models," Shoupe said. "As we introduce more sophisticated technologies in our products and in our plants, we are working to ensure that our associates are equipped with the skills required for the manufacturing demands of the future. We view this investment in Honda people as critical to our future success."
The Technical Development Center, supported with a grant from JobsOhio, features five dedicated classrooms and includes robotic manufacturing cells designed to give technicians more hands-on experience. The curriculum provides instruction in basic fundamentals such as fluid power, maintenance math and frequency drives as well as advanced training for specialized areas, such as die molds and machining.
"Honda's Heritage Center showcases this global company's extraordinary growth, including right here in Ohio," said John Minor, JobsOhio President and Chief Investment Officer. "We are proud that Ohio is home to this impressive facility, which will serve as an important hub for Honda and enhance workforce development in the region."
Honda established operations in America in 1959 and now employs more than 39,000 associates in its North American sales, R&D and manufacturing operations with total capital investment in North America exceeding $22 billion.
Based on its longstanding commitment to "build products close to the customer," Honda operates 16 major manufacturing facilities in North America producing a wide range of Honda and Acura automobiles, automobile engines and transmissions, Honda all-terrain vehicles, power equipment products, such as lawn mowers, mini-tillers and general purpose engines, and the HondaJet advanced light jet.
Eight Honda auto plants in the region, including four in the U.S., have the capacity to produce 1.92 million automobiles each year. In 2013, more than 94 percent of the Honda and Acura automobiles sold in the U.S. were produced in North America. Those plants today manufacture 11 different models, including four passenger cars and seven light trucks using domestic and globally sourced parts. A fifth U.S. auto plant, the Performance Manufacturing Center, is under construction in Marysville, Ohio, and next year will become the exclusive global production location for the next generation Acura NSX supercar.
Honda also operates 16 major research and development centers in the U.S. with the capacity to fully design, develop and engineer many of the products Honda produces in North America.