Honda official: Consolidation plan will have little initial impact on Alabama plant

Honda official: Consolidation plan will have little initial impact on Alabama plant
In 2019, Honda Manufacturing of Alabama became the first automaker in the state to reach 5 million units produced, including minivans, sports utility vehicles, pickups and V-6 engines. (Bob Crisp/The Daily Home)

Plans to consolidate Honda’s North American operations into a new company will have little immediate impact on its production plant in Lincoln, a company official said.

In a Nov. 6 press release, Honda announced that all of its automobile manufacturing facilities in the U.S. related to frame, engine, transmission and related engineering and purchasing operations, including Honda Manufacturing of Alabama (HMA), will be combined into one new company, to be named Honda Development & Manufacturing of America (HDMA).

Chris Abbruzzese, who handles public relations for Honda, said the consolidation will not immediately affect staff at HMA, but the company will look at staffing issues after the consolidation is completed.

“Our focus will be on getting this new organization up and running once it begins operation April 1 (2021),” he said. “As our R&D, manufacturing and purchasing operations become integrated within HDMA, we will be better able to determine staffing requirements.”

Abbruzzese said further information about the new company will be released as April 1 nears.

Abbruzzese said the consolidation will not result in any changes to the Lincoln plant’s current production lineup, which includes the Honda Passport, Odyssey, Pilot and Ridgeline.

“All production operations will remain in their current locations. The merger into HDMA does not impact the current production lineup,” Abbruzzese said.

“All of the auto manufacturing companies will remain strong and stable companies committed to maintaining a local workforce and supporting their local communities,” he said.

The new company will integrate the automobile product development operations of Honda R&D Americas (HRA).

“Today, we are announcing a number of changes to our business operations that continue the journey we began last year, to become a more lean, nimble and unified company in North America,” said Shinji Aoyama, chief officer of North American Regional Operations of Honda Motor Co., and president and CEO of American Honda. “Each change is vital to our ongoing effort to make Honda in America stronger and more responsive to the customer, better able to invest in advanced technology and prepared to meet future market needs.”

Honda Manufacturing of Alabama. (Honda Manufacturing of Alabama)

Honda will unite all auto creation functions into HDMA with a focus on achieving seamless development of new products with improved efficiency and quality, thus positioning its North American operations for the future.

These changes will effectively bring all auto development, planning, purchasing, strategy and manufacturing into one company, thus strengthening what Honda calls a “one-floor” approach to the product development process.

This includes centralizing key business functions to become more efficient and eliminate redundancies; executing new product development with increased speed and accuracy; and improving manufacturing characteristics with a focus on quality, cost competitiveness and the ability to deliver vehicles that appeal to customers in a timely manner.

Auto-related Honda companies to be wholly or partially consolidated into HDMA include: Honda of America Mfg., Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, Honda Manufacturing of Indiana, Honda Transmission Manufacturing of America, Honda Precision Parts of Georgia, Honda Engineering North America, Honda R&D Americas and Honda Accessory America.

Separately, in a significant move related to its auto sales and parts and service business units, American Honda announced plans to streamline its auto sales and parts and service field operations to enable a more agile response to local market needs, Abbruzzese said.

In January 2021, Honda and Acura zone offices will be restructured to improve communication between dealers, zone management and national sales and parts and service management. The change includes four new regional manager positions that have been created to provide oversight of Honda sales, Acura sales and parts, service and technical field operations.

The regional managers will become the key link between the company’s national and field operations, ensuring better alignment among all staff who call on Honda and Acura dealers and pushing decision-making authority down to local staff to more quickly address dealer and customer needs, Abbruzzese said.

This story originally appeared in The Daily Home.

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