Honda of America Mfg., Inc. (IW 1000/30) announced on Thursday that its Marysville plant will expand  95,000-square-feet  in order to house assembly processes and logistics specifically for production of the Accord Hybrid.

The company will invest $23 million and hire approximately 50 new associates at its Marysville, Ohio  plant to add production of the new two-motor Accord Hybrid Sedan, scheduled to go on sale nationwide this fall.

This new model will be the third hybrid  built by Honda in the U.S. and the first in Ohio. Honda Manufacturing of Indiana, LLC in Greensburg, Ind. was the first Honda plant in North America to build a hybrid vehicle, and currently produces both the Civic Hybrid and Acura ILX Hybrid models.

"With more than 30 years of continuously building eight generations of the Honda Accord close to our customers, our team now is using its experience and flexibility to add this sophisticated Accord Hybrid model," said Jeff Tomko, plant manager of the Marysville plant. "At the same time, we are continuing with our commitment to manufacture new models in Ohio, along with the resulting growth in jobs."

The project includes lengthening the main assembly line to accommodate the unique hybrid production processes, and adding space for related parts receiving and sub-assembly operations. The project also will increase overall efficiency of the plant's parts logistics operations, the company said.

In the last three years, Honda has announced investments at its Ohio manufacturing facilities exceeding $800 million. They include projects to establish on-site parts consolidation centers, renovate auto assembly and painting operations, and major investments at the Anna Engine Plant, as well as its transmission plant in Russells Point, to manufacture continuously variable transmissions (CVTs).

Recently, the transmission plant started a second phase of projects to expand CVT production. This new investment of $90 million includes an additional assembly line, and new aluminum die casting and machining operations. Investments at that the transmission plant in recent years now total $235 million.

Honda operates four manufacturing plants in Ohio, employing 13, 5000. The plants in Marysville and East Liberty have with the capacity to manufacture nearly 700,000 cars and light trucks per year.  The engine plant in Anna supplies engines and components to most of Honda's auto plants in North America, with production exceeding a million engines per year. And the transmission plant in Russells Point manufactures more than one million automatic transmissions per year, including the CVTs, for Honda's North American auto plants.

In addition to manufacturing, Ohio is the center for vehicle engineering in North America. At its R&D center in Raymond, Ohio, Honda's largest R&D center outside Japan, more than 1,300 associates are engaged in "complete product creation" of all-new products for Honda and Acura customers.

Among all its operations, Honda employs more than 13,500 Ohioans. 

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013