Honda Motor Co. will build its own in-house plastic injection molding line at its newest North American manufacturing site, although company officials said they are not certain of any of the operation's details yet. The molding at Honda's Lincoln, Ala., facility will be similar to production at other company sites, which turn out instrument panels and other items for the company, spokesman Andy Boyd said in a telephone interview.
Honda Manufacturing of Alabama LLC, a subsidiary of Honda of America Manufacturing Inc. and Tokyo-based Honda, marked the ground breaking of the Lincoln plant April 25 — about six months ahead of schedule. The facility will produce the popular Odyssey minivans and V-6 engines, with production under way by late 2001.
The plant originally was to begin operating by April 2002, but demand for the Odyssey is outstripping Honda's production at Alliston, Ontario, according to Boyd.
Alliston originally produced 120,000 of the vans annually, but now has pushed that number to 150,000.
Honda wants to increase that figure by another 10,000 vehicles annually, he said.
"We've done everything we can there to improve the situation," he said.
Honda originally planned to have injection molded parts shipped from its Marysville, Ohio, plant to Alabama, but decided the demand for Odyssey minivans required a complete manufacturing unit there.
Buyers must wait months for delivery once they place an order, Boyd said. That puts the automaker at a deficit for meeting consumer demands before the van even arrives.
"There's worse places to be, but we don't want to have a situation where people are waiting six months for a vehicle," Boyd said. "They may love it once they get it, but they're already upset at the wait before it even arrives."