30th anniversary in North America
Honda's new Marysville-built Accord unveiled
The ninth iteration of the Honda Accord began rolling off the assembly line in Marysville Aug. 20, marking the Japanese auto company's 30th anniversary manufacturing cars in North America.
The factory shut down for nearly an hour so more than 1,000 employees, local dignitaries and Ohio Gov. John Kasich could witness the unveiling of the 2013 Accord.
Since opening its first U.S. auto plant in Marysville on Nov. 1, 1982, Honda of America officials say tghey have spent more than $4.2 billion in capital investments in Union County.
"And Honda doesn't ask us for breaks or anything," Kasich said. "They just go out and do it themselves."
Company officials say they have also spent $1.7 billion in neighboring East Liberty (Logan County) and $1.1 billion in Anna (Shelby County) over the past 27 years.
In 2011, the company invested $64 million for a new stamping press at the Marysville plant, which manufactures the Accord Coupe, the Accord Sedan and the Acura TL.
Union County Commissioner Steve Stolte said Honda has even ponied up the cash for infrastructure improvements near its Marysville plant.
When the company turned the two-lane highway outside its front door into a five-lane highway, it paid more than $3 million for the improvement," Stolte said.
Since 1982, the Marysville and East Liberty auto plants have manufactured more than 15 million cars, Honda officials say.
The 2013 Accord features a newly designed grill and new contour lines. Its exterior is slightly smaller than its predecessor -- addressing criticism that the Accord had become overgrown for a mid-size car -- though the interior space has remained the same, according to design team leader Mike Fischer.
Hide Iwata, president and CEO of Honda of America Mfg., said it is fitting that the new Accord will be manufactured at a plant "that excels in all areas -- including flexibility, efficiency ans quality."
The three-year redesign was particularly challenging, Fischer said, because of last year's tsunami and earthquake in Japan and because of flooding in Thailand. Those disasters disrupted the supply of parts, delaying production and shrinking inventory.
"But the team stayed focused and we ended up with a car that answers the question we always ask, 'What is the right thing for our customers?'"
The 2013 Accord boasts several state-of-the-art features including "Lane Watch" blind-spot display which enhances visibility of the passenger side roadway; a rear-view camera and expanded view driver's mirror; and lane departure warning and forward collision warning systems.
Fischer pointed to another feature that made his design team proud: a seamless dashboard that reduces cabin noise.
"The old dash had 16 seams and came in three pieces," he said. "You won't believe how much more quiet the new Accord is with our seamless dash."
When it came time for the unveiling, Gov.Kasich got a little ahead of himself and began to lift the black skirt off the new Accord.
"She's showing a little leg," he joked.