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Honda Breaks Ground for $30 Million Plant Expansion; North Carolina Plant to Produce 1.5 million Engines Annually
Honda Power Equipment Mfg., Inc. (HPE) today broke ground for a $30 million expansion of its Swepsonville, N.C. factory that will increase production to 1.5 million engines per year in 2004. North Carolina Governor Mike Easley and other state and local officials joined the event, which will lead to the addition of a third production line and other improvements to help meet growing demand for Honda's general purpose engines.
HPE has increased general purpose engine production from 300,000 units to its current capacity of one million units over the past three years. HPE also produces engines, lawn mowers and other products using domestic and globally-sourced parts.
"The foundation of Honda is our people. It is based on the efforts of our associates in North Carolina that we will expand Honda Power Equipment Mfg. again," said Koichi Amemiya, president and CEO of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "It is the Honda associates who met the challenge of increasing production capacity while also maintaining their commitment to deliver high quality products to the customer. And I have every confidence that - again - the associates of HPE will be up to the challenge."
"The growth we celebrate today is not simply about size," said Yoshihiko Toyozumi, president of HPE. "The key to our growth as a company is the growth in capabilities of HPE associates, the growth of our partnership with the State of North Carolina and the growth in our relationship with this community."
The new third assembly line will be constructed adjacent to the existing facility and will increase HPE's investment in North Carolina to almost $150 million, grow the plant to almost 200-thousand square feet, and bring full-time employment to approximately 570 associates in addition to seasonal employment. Hiring of new associates will begin in early 2004.
HPE began operation in 1984 with lawn mower assembly. HPE also produces snow blowers, water pumps and string trimmers. Currently, two assembly lines produce approximately one million engines per year, which are used primarily for Honda lawn mowers and other Honda products, and for sale to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for use in a range of equipment including lawnmowers, pressure washers and generators.
The GC series made in North Carolina is Honda's solution to the need for quiet, efficient, and low emission engines specifically designed for home-use power equipment applications. The GC and GCV160 models are ideal for a variety of consumer products, including lawn mowers, pressure washers, water pumps, compressors, and other power equipment such as snow blowers and tillers.
When the HPE expansion is completed in 2004, Honda's capital investment in North America will total more than $7 billion. North American employment will rise to more than 26,000 associates.
Honda produced more than 15 million engines in 2002 for its three product lines - automobiles, motorcycles and power products - and for sales to other manufacturers. Honda designs, manufactures and markets its products in North America and worldwide. Honda currently builds products in 12 manufacturing plants in North America, with three major research and development centers in the U.S.