Honda builds its 30 millionth American vehicle

Photo Credit: LinkedIn

Honda recently announced that it had manufactured its 30 millionth vehicle in the U.S.  Many of those vehicles were built here in Alabama at its Lincoln plant. Honda has eight auto manufacturing facilities in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, and Ohio. The first was the Marysville Auto Plant in Ohio forty years ago, but Honda is now in its third decade of manufacturing vehicles in Alabama.

Today those eight manufacturing plants build twelve Honda and Acura vehicles, along with the engines, transmissions, and hybrid-electric systems that power them.

Economic developer Dr. Nicole Jones told Alabama Today, “Since 2001, Honda has been an incredible partner with our state and now employs approximately 4,500 Alabamians at the Lincoln, AL Assembly Plant. Vehicles have become Alabama’s chief export, with annual shipments to 90 nations around the world. A business-friendly climate that includes a quality and skilled workforce, low taxes, competitive incentives, and an excellent quality of life facilitate an environment conducive for business. Alabama has over 25 years of solid growth in the automotive manufacturing industry because of continued collaboration between the public and private sector in the areas of R&D, workforce development, and overall industry needs.”

Honda has invested almost $20 billion in its American manufacturing facilities.

Bob Schwyn is the Senior Vice President and Center Lead at Honda Development and Manufacturing of America.

“Honda is preparing for the electrified future,” Schwyn said. “Our vision to make battery-electric and fuel cell electric vehicles represent 100% of our vehicle sales in North America by 2040 – including our plan to make those vehicles here in America within the next few years.”

“I joined Honda 35 years ago as an equipment engineer in the paint department in that first plant in Ohio,” Schwyn wrote. “That was 1988, when our cumulative production was less than 500,000 vehicles. I was a young engineer straight out of college, and I recall that we had only one computer in the entire office, and it was shared by everyone.”

“We opened a second Honda auto plant in Ohio, and I was advancing my skills in production engineering and production planning when Honda decided to establish a new auto and engine production facility in Alabama,” Schwyn continued. “I was tapped to join a small team of experienced engineers from our plants in Ohio and Canada to help construct and launch production at the new plant.”

“I spent most of that time at our Alabama Auto Plant, ultimately serving as the Plant Lead,” Schwyn wrote. “One of my joys was to spend time on the production floor talking with the people who make products for our customers. And I have to say that seeing the growth in expertise and leadership has been a very rewarding experience. I’m proud that my successor as Plant Lead of the Alabama Auto Plant, Lamar Whitaker, is a home-grown Honda associate who I met when he joined the company, the year we began production in 2001.”

Honda produced its first made-in-Alabama vehicle, a Honda Odyssey minivan, on November 14, 2001. Over the next twenty years, Honda built 5 million light trucks and V6 engines at its Lincoln plant. Honda has expanded the plant several times since 2001.

“Since Honda began production in Alabama in 2001, we have accomplished a great deal and put a number of high-quality products on the road, but it is our people — our Honda associates — who are the driving force in all of our accomplishments,” Schwyn said.

“One of Honda’s biggest strengths is the innovative design and manufacturing methods that keep its vehicles in high demand in markets around the globe,” Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield said. “The company has brought cutting-edge developments to its Talladega County plant many times over the past two decades, putting great trust in its local workforce, and Alabama auto workers have delivered outstanding results again and again.”

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email