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Honda produces 30M vehicles in U.S., suppliers expand to meet demand photo

Auto parts supplier UGN Inc. held a grand opening for their new Monroe plant Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015, at Park North industrial park. UGN supplies acoustic treatments, carpets and other items to Honda, Toyota and Subaru. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

By Matt Sanctis

Sept. 15, a milestone for a company that employs thousands of workers in Ohio and got its start in the U.S. at its Marysville plant in 1982.

The automaker has grown significantly since then, and now has manufacturing facilities in East Liberty, as well as sites in Indiana, Alabama, Canada and Mexico. Last year, 97 percent of Honda’s vehicles sold in the U.S. were produced in North America, according to information from the company.

The milestone has an impact locally, where suppliers like UGN Inc. of Monroe opened this year a new $50 million, 232,000-square-foot plant to make acoustic insulation, carpet and underfloor parts for Honda. The new factory located at the business park called Park North at Monroe has created more than 100 new jobs so far, according to the company.

The automaker employs about 13,000 Ohioans overall. Honda’s North American auto plants produce 11 different models, including five passenger cars and six light trucks, and are able to make 1.92 million vehicles annually, company officials said.

Honda was the first Japanese automaker to produce cars in the U.S. and North America. Along with its facilities in Marysville and East Liberty, Honda’s Performance Manufacturing Center in Marysville will begin production next year of the next-generation Acura NSX supercar. That will be the fifth auto plant for the company in the U.S.

In addition to its auto manufacturing facilities, Honda’s Ohio footprint also includes an engine manufacturing site in Anna and an automatic transmission facility in Russell’s Point. The company also has support facilities in Canada, Mexico and Alabama.

More than $26 billion was spent last year purchasing parts and components for its vehicles, according to information from the company. The automaker works with 713 suppliers in North America including several Butler and Warren county manufacturing firms such as UGN, and brake component maker ADVICS Manufacturing Ohio of Lebanon.

“Honda has been producing cars in this region for almost 33 years and it took the tremendous support and dedication of our associates, past and present, together with our suppliers, dealers and business partners to achieve this significant milestone,” said Chris Abbruzzese, a spokesman for Honda.

The company has also marked other milestones since last year. In April, Honda’s East Liberty facility produced a 2016 Acura RDX, the 5 millionth vehicle produced at that facility. In March last year, the 10 millionth U.S.-built Honda Accord rolled off the assembly line at its Marysville facility.

National auto sales climbed for five consecutive years in 2014 to 16.5 million new vehicles sold.

Staff Writer Chelsey Levingston contributed to this report.