Honda has announced it will temporarily idle a second-shift production line at the Marysville, Ohio assembly plant in August.
The company said the measure is necessary to prepare the facility for the production of future electrified vehicles. It will take several years before the shift resumes production, Honda added.
The line that will be idled builds approximately 55,000 vehicles a year, most of them Accord sedans. Some CR-V production will also be affected, but Honda will build more CR-Vs in Greensburg, Indiana to compensate for that — reducing Civic production in the process.
While there will be no layoffs, Honda will reallocate employees who aren’t assigned to work on the retooling to other roles. The company will also offer voluntary buyouts to some employees, a company spokeswoman said. Obviously, the suspension of the Marysville plant’s second shift will also affect engine and transmission production in Ohio.
Honda’s moves seem to be consistent with the sales performance of the Accord and Civic passenger cars. Last year, Accord sales were down nearly 10 percent while Civic sales fell almost 14 percent.
However, the Japanese carmaker is adamant that the idling of the second shift at the plant that builds the Accord, Accord Hybrid, Acura ILX, and Acura TLX doesn’t mean that it is turning its back to sedans as Detroit’s Big Three have done.
"It’s not really the same thing, because our car business still remains very, very strong," Henio Arcangeli, senior vice president at American Honda Motor, was quoted as saying by Autonews in an interview at the New York Auto Show. "It’s just the situation, looking at near term as well as looking at long term, we felt the right idea was to take a break on second shift so we can do some retooling and prepare for the future," the executive added.
Honda did not identify the electrified vehicles that will be made in Ohio. The automaker currently sells the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid, Clarity Fuel Cell, Clarity Electric, Accord Hybrid, and Insight Hybrid in the U.S. under its core brand. It also sells three Acura hybrids: the NSX, MDX, and RLX.