Honda announced today that it will invest $98 million at its Anna, Ohio engine plant as part of a strategy to build the company's next-generation powertrain technologies in Ohio. The move is aligned with a $120 million investment, announced last year, for the production of a new continuously variable transmission (CVT) in Russells Point, Ohio.
The Anna Engine Plant will manufacture high-tech pulley components for Honda's new CVT technology, which is part of the new Honda 'Earth Dreams' powertrain technology lineup, to be deployed for the first time in the U.S. in the all-new, more powerful and fuel-efficient 2013 Honda Accord.
Honda will produce its technically advanced CVT on a new assembly line at Honda Transmission Mfg. of America, Inc. in Russells Point. The modernization and expansion of the Russells Point transmission plant, along with the new pulley component production at the Anna plant, will create 150 new jobs.
Since November 2010, Honda has announced new investments exceeding $500 million in its two auto plants and two powertrain plants in Ohio.
"For decades, our two Ohio powertrain plants have worked together to deliver advanced products for our customers," said Hide Iwata, president and CEO, Honda of America Mfg., Inc. "The production of this new CVT technology puts the Buckeye State right in the middle of Honda's global strategy."
The new transmissions will debut in the all-new 2013 Honda Accord models that will come to market later this year. The Accord for the U.S. market is built only in Ohio at the Marysville Auto Plant.
"Applying Honda's new Earth Dreams Technologies in the production of engines and transmissions will greatly enhance the driving performance of Honda vehicles, and help us achieve fuel economy leadership in every segment over the next three years," said Iwata.
While the Anna plant prepares for its production launch, the nearby Russells Point transmission plant will proceed with CVT production this summer. These transmissions require highly sophisticated pulley components. Initially, these components will be supplied from Honda operations in Japan, before CVT production for U.S. models is taken up by the Anna plant in 2013.
"Our associates have incredible experience and we are counting on them to help us introduce an even higher level of powertrain technology for our customers," Anna Engine Plant Manager, John Spoltman, said. "The new CVT technology will be mated with Honda's new Earth Dreams 2.4-liter direct-injection engine, which will also be produced here at the Anna Engine Plant."
Earth Dreams technology defines Honda's next-generation engine and transmission strategy to realize advanced levels of both performance and fuel efficiency. Introduction of the new CVT for mid-size cars, will improve fuel economy by approximately 10 percent compared with the current five-speed automatic transmission.
The new component production operation at Anna will utilize 84,000 square feet of plant space for lathing, heat-treating, grinding and subassembly of precision CVT pulley systems. With the capacity to manufacture 1.18 million V-6 and four-cylinder engines annually, the Anna Engine Plant is the largest automobile engine factory in Honda's global production network.
At the Russells Point transmission plant, CVTs will be manufactured on a sophisticated assembly line that is being constructed as part of a $70 million, 200,000-square-foot expansion of the facility. An additional $50 million is being invested in a 75,000-square-foot expansion of the facility for additional aluminum casting operations to support the CVT assembly line.
Honda Transmission Mfg. of America currently employs 1,050 associates. In addition to automatic transmissions, the Russells Point plant also manufactures four-wheel-drive systems. Both plants manufacture the precision steel parts for engines and transmissions, and four-wheel-drive components.
Today's announcement continues a series of major initiatives by Honda in its Ohio operations. In January, the Acura luxury brand revealed that the all-new Acura NSX supercar will be developed in Ohio and built at a new manufacturing operation in central Ohio. And since November 2010, Honda has now announced more than $500 million in investments for advanced technologies and systems at it four existing Ohio plants.
Other major initiatives now underway include construction of on-site parts consolidation centers at Anna and East Liberty, a sophisticated new stamping press at the Marysville Auto Plant, and several major projects at East Liberty to expand assembly lines, implement new paint technologies and consolidate vehicle quality operations.