Union County's largest employer announced earlier this month an expansion project that will bring more than 100 full-time jobs to Ohio.

Union County's largest employer announced earlier this month an expansion project that will bring more than 100 full-time jobs to Ohio.

Honda Transmission of America Mfg. will spend $70-million on a 200,000-square-foot expansion project at its Russells Point facility, increasing the plant's capabilities to manufacture Honda's transmission technologies when Honda's new production line begins in 2012, according to spokesman Ron Lietzke. The expansion project is expected to create more than 100 full-time jobs, and the company also announced that it is currently adding 60 jobs for the start of a second shift in early 2011, according to Lietzke.

Russells Point is about 40 miles northwest of Marysville.

The project, called "Transmission Technology for the Future," will increase production flexibility for the entire plant, including improvements in overall product flow, as well as increasing the plant's capacity to produce more than 1-million automatic transmissions annually, up from 800,000 transmissions now, Lietzke said.

"The start of this project is recognition of the accomplishments of a great team of associates, and the strong partnerships we have established in this community," said Yuji Takahashi, Honda Transmission president. "Together, we have created a solid foundation for growth into the future to meet the needs of our customers."

The $70-million expansion will include the installation of a third assembly line, along with other new operations for the production of advanced automatic transmissions, and the relocation of the plant's two existing assembly lines into the new manufacturing space, according to Lietzke.

Plant manager Jeff Tomko announced that a second shift would start early next year producing automatic transmissions for the new 2012 Honda Civic, which goes on sale next spring. Honda is currently in the hiring process for 60 full-time positions to meet the need for increased production.

Along with the $70-million expansion, Honda has invested about $25-million to renovate the plant's aluminum machining lines, steel gear production and to increase the flexibility on the current assembly lines, according to Lietzke. Those modifications will result in the production of six-speed automatic transmissions next year for some Honda Odyssey models, which are manufactured in Alabama.

"These projects represent Honda's ongoing commitment not only to our customers, but to our neighbors and suppliers who benefit from local production of the transmissions that go into Honda automobiles," Tomko said. "We also are committed to reducing the environmental impact of these new operations. No waste will be sent to landfills, and energy will be conserved through use of energy-efficient equipment and lighting systems."

Honda Transmission currently employs 1,050 associates who manufacture transmissions and four-wheel-drive assemblies for automobiles produced at the Marysville and East Liberty auto plants, as well as other plants in North America, according to Lietzke. The plant has an annual capacity of more than 800,000 automatic transmissions, 328,000 gear sets, 300,000 four-wheel-drive transfer cases and 150,000 four-wheel-drive assemblies.