East Liberty selected for CR-V production; Marysville gets new Acura SUV

Exercising its flexibility to produce both cars and light trucks in Ohio, Honda of America Mfg. has announced that it will begin production of the popular Honda CR-V sport utility vehicle at its East Liberty Auto Plant and an all-new Acura SUV at the Marysville Auto Plant, both in 2006.

Strengthening its lineup of cars and light trucks assembled in Ohio, Honda's CR-V will be the second light truck built at the East Liberty plant, which currently produces the Element, Accord and Civic. The move will help meet demand for the CR-V, which reached a U.S. sales record of 149,281 units last year.

The new Acura SUV will be the first light truck model at the Marysville plant, joining a lineup that includes the Honda Accord and the Acura TL. Placed in the Acura lineup beneath the MDX in both price and size, it will be the fourth performance and luxury Acura model produced in North America.

The RD-X concept of this all-new Acura SUV made its North American debut Sunday during press days at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

"This announcement exhibits both the flexibility of our auto manufacturing plants in the state of Ohio and the dedication of our associates," said Honda of America President and CEO Koki Hirashima. "Our strong team of associates is committed to supplying our customers with the high-quality products they have come to expect from Honda."

Honda announced in December its plans to build the CR-V in Ohio, citing its popularity in the United States as a main reason production will be shifting from the United Kingdom to the East Liberty plant. Honda's plant in the U.K. will focus on diesel-powered and other products popular in that region of the world.

"Adding production of these two light-truck models to Ohio is another example of our commitment to build products close to our customers," said Hirashima. "Along with the model mix produced at Honda's other plants in North America, this will position us for the future - providing added flexibility to meet the needs of our customers for both cars and light trucks."

Honda has invested more than $8 billion in 12 plants and other operations in North America. And nearly eight of 10 vehicles Honda sells here are made in those plants. With 16,000 associates in Ohio, Honda has two auto plants, a motorcycle plant and engine and transmission plants in the state, along with product engineering, warehousing and logistics operations.

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