Honda to Move Production of CR-V for U.S. Market to Ohio
MARYSVILLE, OH — Honda's CR-V sport/utility vehicle will be made for the first time in the United States at one of two Ohio plants, the production sites of five other Honda vehicles, according to the Associated Press.Honda of America Manufacturing Inc. announced on December 20 that it wanted to move production of the CR-V for the U.S. market from the United Kingdom closer to SUV buyers who mostly live in the United States.Honda is not the only auto manufacturer bringing more production to the United States. Swedish truck maker Volvo AB had already announced that it will bring assembly of its truck engines to Hagerstown, Md., and said it may move more production to the United States if the dollar keeps weakening. CR-V production will begin in 2006 at one of two plants northwest of Columbus, in Marysville, or nearby East Liberty. Japan will continue making the CR-V for the U.S. market, but the two plants in the United Kingdom will make CR-Vs, including a new diesel-fueled product, for the European market, said Yuzuru Matsuno, Honda of America spokesman in the company's Detroit offices. "Bringing production closer to sales allows better matching of the two and is more efficient for the company and the customer," Matsuno said. He also said that the move will allow more production capacity for the European market. "We are expecting big growth in sales of the diesel CR-V in the European market, and that would crowd out production in the U.K. for the U.S. market," he said. Ohio production of the CR-V is not expected to result in more jobs, according to Honda spokesman Don Hensley at the company's Marysville offices. The two Ohio plants are Honda's only plants in North America using the flexible manufacturing system that allows production of both cars and light trucks, Hensley said. The East Liberty plant makes the Element crossover vehicle, and a new luxury Acura SUV will be made at one of the two sites. Honda also makes the Accord, Civic, and Acura TL cars at Ohio plants, which employ about 16,000 workers. Honda had sold nearly 134,000 CR-Vs in the United States this year through November, about a 1-percent increase over last year's sales. The 160-horsepower SUV starts at $19,995.