Hats Off to Honda Manufacturing Flexibility!

When announcing its monthly U.S. sales for April, Henio Arcangeli, Jr., senior vice president of the Automobile Division and general manager of Honda sales, noted, “Even as we increase our sales of light trucks to record levels, we remain committed to delivering a balanced lineup of cars and light-truck offerings for our customers.” This was, perhaps, not particularly veiled shade at Ford, which had announced that it plans to phase out cars (with two exceptions) so as to concentrate on light trucks.

When announcing its monthly U.S. sales for April, Henio Arcangeli, Jr., senior vice president of the Automobile Division and general manager of Honda sales, noted, “Even as we increase our sales of light trucks to record levels, we remain committed to delivering a balanced lineup of cars and light-truck offerings for our customers.”

This was, perhaps, not particularly veiled shade at Ford, which had announced that it plans to phase out cars (with two exceptions) so as to concentrate on light trucks.

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Arcangeli went on to say, “Our flexible manufacturing capabilities allow us to evolve our production mix in real-time to meet these continued shifts in consumer demand. Moreover, we recognize not all customers in the market want a truck or SUV, so growth opportunities still exist within the passenger car side of our business.”

Honda Launches All-New 2019 Insight Sedan into Production in Indiana

Underscoring not only its commitment to cars but its flexible manufacturing capability, Honda put the 2019 Insight into production today at Honda Manufacturing of Indiana. The Insight is a sedan that slots in between the Accord and Civic (also sedans). What’s notable about the Insight is that it is a new hybrid, using Honda’s third-generation hybrid technology.

This is also worth knowing: said Isao Matuzaki, president of Honda Manufacturing of Indiana, “As the lead plant for Insight production globally, we are committed to delivering the quality and reliability that our customers expect.” No, not the part about the quality and reliability—which, let’s face it, what anyone in his position would say about any product being produced—but the fact that the all-new vehicle is starting its existence in Indiana, not being brought there having been launched in a plant in, say, Japan.

Honda Launches All-New 2019 Insight Sedan into Production in Indiana

Now the Indiana plant isn’t the only U.S. facility contributing to the new car. Honda has made capital investments on the order of $61.5-million in plants in Indiana and Ohio for the Insight. The Greensburg plant received $32.5-million for new operational equipment and facilities. The twin electric motor unit for the car is being produced at Honda Transmission Manufacturing of America in Russells Point, Ohio, where a $29-million investment was made.

Batteries for the Insight are assembled at the Honda Marysville, Ohio, plant, which is where the Acccord is assembled. And the 1.5-liter Atkinson-cycle engine that is used for the Insight powertrain is produced in the Honda engine plant in Anna, Ohio.

One more thing: You know the comment about manufacturing flexibility quoted above?

Well, the Insight is being built on the same like as the Civic (car) and the CR-V (crossover).

Yes, Honda is putting its money—and its capability—where its mouth is.