Honda: Making Them in America

Gary S. Vasilash

One of the concerns that is sometimes expressed to me by people who are thinking about buying a new car, people who are interested or feel intrinsically obliged to support the U.S. domestic industry (given Fiat’s stake in Chrysler, the question of whether that still counts is, oddly, rarely raised, as though there is a historical inertia that keeps it within the domestic mindset) is that while they’d really like to buy, say, a Honda Accord or Civic, they just can’t due to its seeming nondomesticity.

“But it is manufactured in Ohio. By a bunch of Ohioians.”


Of course, given the popularity of both those models, year in, year out, evidentially there are hundreds of thousands of people who have figured out where they’re built. If it matters.

2013 Honda Accord Coupe Concept

Honda has been building cars in Ohio since 1982.

And since that time, the corporation has added six auto plants in North America which have a combined capacity of 1.6-million vehicles.

This was brought to mind by numbers that came out of Honda in, yes, Japan, where it is based.

It is of the production numbers for the company both within Japan and outside the country from January to May 2012.

In Japan, the company produced 495,196 vehicles, which, given the recovery from the earthquake, tsunami, nuke plant crisis, and flooding in Thailand, is a sizable 121.9% increase.

495,196 vehicles.

How many did it build during the same period in North America?

748,217 vehicles.

And of the 748,217 vehicles, how many were built in the U.S.?*


And it should be noted that not only is that number bigger than the Japanese production, but it is actually the largest for Honda globally:

Europe: 69,858

Asia: 416,052

Given that preponderance of U.S.-built vehicles, one wonders whether buyers in Osaka, say, begin to wonder whether Honda is sufficiently domestic.

Clearly, the industry is global, more so than many may think.

*Did you know that the Chevy Camaro is built in Oshawa, Ontario? Or that the Motor Trend 2010 Car of the Year-award-winning Ford Fusion is built in Hermosillo, Mexico (some 2013 Fusions are being built in Flat Rock, Michigan—in a plant that was a joint venture between Ford and Mazda). North American, yes. But U.S. domestic?