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20 years of auto production at Alabama’s Honda plant

Assistant Vice President of Product Planning at AHM Vicki Poponi and Jason Dean, HMA plant...
Assistant Vice President of Product Planning at AHM Vicki Poponi and Jason Dean, HMA plant project leader celebrated the start of mass production of the all-new 2011 Honda Odyssey minivan (photo source Honda)
Published: Nov. 14, 2021 at 7:30 AM CST
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LINCOLN, Ala. (WBRC) - Honda marked 20 years of vehicle and engine production in Alabama, on Sunday, November 14, at the company’s production facility in Lincoln.

Honda began production in Alabama on November 14, 2001, when an Odyssey minivan rolled off the assembly line.

THE RESULTS

  • $2 billion in cumulative capital investment
  • More than 5 million light trucks and V-6 engines built over the company’s first two decades
  • The Lincoln facility has the capacity to manufacture 340,000 vehicles and engines annually and employs more than 4,500 associates.

The Alabama Auto Plant is Honda’s primary production source globally for light trucks and V-6 engines and is the sole producer of the Honda Odyssey minivan, the Honda Passport SUV, the Honda Pilot SUV, and the Honda Ridgeline pickup truck.

“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,” said Bob Schwyn, Vice President and Alabama Auto Plant Lead. “The dedication and challenging spirit of our associates has only grown over these last two decades, and I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of this team.”

The Alabama Auto Plant, formerly Honda Manufacturing of Alabama (HMA), began production with a vehicle assembly facility and an engine production facility, but with engine assembly uniquely occurring within the vehicle plant. Shortly after the first Honda Odyssey was produced in Alabama, Honda broke ground on a second vehicle production line, which started producing vehicles in 2004. A state-of-the-art engine assembly production line was added in 2015.

“I’m from Lincoln and it’s just been an amazing thing to have a company like Honda in this little town,” said Honda associate Stephanie Alexander. “I remember when this was dirt and now people want to put businesses here. That to me is always very humbling to know that I work for a company that could come in and do so much.”

In 2019, an economic impact study commissioned by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama found that Honda contributed $12 billion to the state’s economy annually, which is 5.4% of Alabama’s GDP. In addition, the automaker accounts for over 19,000 direct and indirect jobs. The largest impact is to the city of Lincoln and Talladega County, as well as Honda’s primary hiring areas - Calhoun, Etowah, St. Clair, and Jefferson counties - where much of the workforce lives.

“Honda is not just here to build cars. We are building families. We are building communities and we’re doing it together,” said associate Connie Suttle, longtime Talladega resident and Production Team Lead who has been with Honda since the year production began, in 2001. “I found a home when I came to Honda.”

The night before the groundbreaking for the Alabama Auto Plant, Honda held a BBQ supper for the residents of Lincoln and the surrounding area. Honda will celebrate the 20th anniversary milestone in much the same way, with an Alabama-style BBQ to be held at a later date with its associates, on-site contractors and vendors.

“Getting to know and work with so many great associates over the years is the best part of my job,” Schwyn said. “We want to celebrate them and all of their accomplishments.”

Learn more at https://hondainamerica.com/.

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