Honda Ending Production of Motorcycles in U.S.

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Fri, 02/29/2008 - 1:45am.

A Marysville, Ohio, plant, built in 1979, turned out 44,000 large Gold Wing touring and VTX cruiser motorcycles last year and employs 450 workers. Honda said there will be no layoffs and that the workers will fill jobs at its other operations in Ohio. Honda employs about 13,000 at five plants in Ohio. Besides motorcycles, they make the Accord, Civic, Element, CR-V and Acura TL and RDX.  Honda Motor in Dayton, Ohio plans to stop making motorcycles in the USA in spring 2009 and transfer the work to Japan.

"There were a lot of people who felt disappointment," said plant manager Jan Gansheimer, noting many employees are motorcycle enthusiasts.

Gansheimer said production of 120 motorcycles a day will continue for now. A decision on phasing out production or ending it all at once has not been made.

Honda said motorcycle production at Marysville and at the Hamamatsu plant in Japan will be consolidated at an expanded plant in Kumamoto, Japan.

"This move allows us to improve the competitiveness and appeal of our products by applying the latest technologies and production systems at one efficient location," said Akio Hamada, president and chief executive of Honda of America.

The Japanese plant will have a capacity of 600,000 motorcycles a year. Capacity at Marysville is 75,000.

No decision has been made about what to do with the Marysville plant.

The Motorcycle Industry Council estimates that 1.11 million motorcycles were sold in the USA in 2007, down from 1.19 million in 2006. Council spokesman Mike Mount noted, however, that motorcycle sales steadily increased for 14 years leading up to 2006, which was the best year for sales in 30 years.

Honda spokesman Ed Miller said the company believes sales will rebound as the economy strengthens.

Honda says it holds about 25% of U.S. sales of motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles and scooters.

 James Hannah - The Associated Press - February 28, 2008 - posted at
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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Fri, 02/29/2008 - 1:45am.