Honda: The New US Automaker
When you think of American automobiles, names such as Ford, General Motors and Chrysler and images of Detroit, the “motor city,” come to mind. But it would seem that Japanese automakers are intent on altering our notions of which auto manufacturers call the US their home.
This month, Honda, Japan’s first company to export cars from the US, celebrates the export of their millionth car built for export. They also announced that they are on track to export more from the US than they import within two years.
The millionth car in question, a silver 2013 Accord EX-L Sedan, was manufactured in Honda’s Marysville Auto Plant and will be shipped to South Korea.
Honda exported its first American-built automobile 25 years ago, and has since exported more than $22 billion worth of cars, as well as components to be used in overseas manufacturing plants. The company exports to more than 40 countries (not including the US or Canada), with combined Honda and Acura exports set to cross the 100,000 threshold during 2012.
With the recent investment of over $2.2 billion in North American operations, Honda hopes to increase car production from the current rate of 1.64 million to 1.92 units per year by 2014, helping the company’s export rate charge past that of its imports.
Could this mean a shift in the identity of the American auto industry? Could Honda’s operations in Ohio, Alabama and Indiana and its more-than 26,000 American employees change our definition of who the good ‘ole American car companies are? Probably not, but it could be a sign of things to come for US manufacturing on the whole.
As companies such as Apple and GE opt to insource, and auto giant Honda sees the US as its point of origin rather than its destination, it may spell hope for the domestic market. After all, many of the vehicles exported by Honda were designed and developed by right here, at Honda R&D Americas, by American designers and engineers. Perhaps in two years we will see American exports rise not only for Honda, but for the US auto industry in general.
Full story at Honda