On the same site where it broke ground for its first Alabama auto plant 17 years ago to the day, Honda Manufacturing of Alabama (HMA) rolled out the first of the latest model of the Odyssey minivan produced at the plant.
More than 1,500 associates at the plant celebrated the start of mass production of the 2018 Odyssey, slated to go on sale this spring at Honda dealerships nationwide.
HMA is the exclusive manufacturer of the popular minivan.
“This is a celebration for our entire Honda team of associates who have been committed to bringing an all-new, high-tech, family-friendly Odyssey to our customers,” said Jeff Tomko, president of HMA. “I congratulate all of our associates for their commitment to quality for this new vehicle, which ushers in a new level of features and functionality with the goal of creating new value for our customers.”
In addition to the Odyssey, the Alabama plant is the sole producer of the Pilot SUV and Ridgeline pickup truck, which was named 2017 North American Truck of the Year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. HMA also builds the Acura MDX luxury SUV and the V-6 engines that power each vehicle.
The 2018 Odyssey is the fourth generation to be built in Alabama, and the second generation of Odyssey to be designed and developed in the United States.
Honda broke ground on its first Alabama plant on April 25, 2000, and started production in the plant on Nov. 14, 2001. Since then, it has added a second plant on the site and produced more than 4 million vehicles and engines.
“With the introduction of the new Odyssey, Honda has achieved yet another milestone in Alabama, demonstrating that the state’s dedicated and skilled workforce can meet the highest standards of the world’s greatest companies,” said Steve Sewell, executive vice president of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama. “Honda has not only had an enormous impact on Alabama’s economy over the last 15 years, its success has helped the state earn a reputation as a top business location.”
Several new technologies and production improvements exist in the new Odyssey, including a new process for installing acoustic spray foam in 14 locations within the vehicle body, making the cabin even quieter.
Odyssey has been the most popular minivan in America in every year since 2010 and is leading again this year. Americans have purchased more than 2.5 million Odyssey minivans since its 1994 debut.
New features in the 2018 Odyssey include:
- Magic Slide Seat, a second-row seating system that can be easily configured for passengers or cargo and easy access to third-row seating.
- CabinWatch, which uses an infrared camera to allow the driver and front passenger to keep tabs on rear passengers both day and night with an 8-inch screen. CabinTalk enables the driver to talk to second- and third-row passengers through the second- and third-row speakers and wireless rear entertainment system headphones.
- CabinControl App allows passengers to use their smartphone to control the rear entertainment system, rear cabin heat and air conditioning, and send destinations to the embedded Honda navigation system.