Honda Ending Motorcycle Production in U.S.

HondaThere will be one less company producing motorcycles in the U.S. next year as Honda plans to stop manufacturing motorcycles at its Marysville, Ohio facility and transfer production to Japan. Honda will focus efforts on its North American auto operations.

Honda said there will be no layoffs when production ends in spring 2009. The workers will remain with the company, helping produce cars, trucks, engines and parts and filling other jobs at Honda's other operations in west-central Ohio, the company said.

The motorcycle plant opened in 1979 as Honda's first U.S. plant. Last year, it produced about 44,000 Gold Wing touring and VTX cruiser bikes.

Honda said motorcycle production at the Marysville plant and at the Hamamatsu factory in Japan will be consolidated at a new motorcycle plant in Kumamoto, Japan, in 2009. It is part of a global plan to produce certain larger motorcycles, Honda said.

Link: International Herald Tribune

Comments

  1. Reg Lawson says

    It is with sadness that I read of Honda’s move to cease motorcycle production in the good ole’ USA. Somehow it seamed comforting that Honda would choose to produce its flagship bike here.

    With the company’s lack of new designs to hit the road recently one has to wonder if they plan to back-shelf motorcycles in favor of more “mature” products.

    Reg Lawson

  2. Clive Makinson-Sanders says

    Thank god. Now all the “buy american” nibmys wont be able to buy a vtx1800 and say its american. Money still goes to japan, dimwits.

  3. aaron says

    ?????? with the american dollar in the toilet, building a goldwing in the states should cost only two thirds (for a company based outside the states) of what it cost 5 years ago…..maybe it’s not worth opening a new factory for cars, and this works best for the bean counters. oh well – it’s not like this changes the quality of the bikes or anything…

  4. kneeslider says

    Companies usually see an economic benefit producing a product close to their market. If Honda has decided after 30 years to move production out of the U.S., you have to wonder about their view of and expectations for the future of the U.S. motorcycle market. It also says something about their ability to competitively produce motorcycles in the U.S. compared to Japan or elsewhere, especially considering the current weakness of the U.S. dollar. This is not good news.

  5. zipidachimp says

    with the dollar tanking, expect much higher bike prices. euro hit $1.50 today. imported goldwings will go through the roof, not to mention bmw’s etc.

  6. Harry Angstrom says

    “It is part of a global plan to produce certain larger motorcycles, Honda said.” I have no idea what this means. Maybe it means Honda has simply lost interest in manufacturing motorcycles. That’s been my impression for several years now. When will a similar “closing/moving” announcement come from Harley-Davidson? Just a toe in the water by initially moving just one model. Perhaps Sportsters manufactured in Thailand alongside Triumph Bonnevilles? It has to be tempting for them.

  7. willie schmitz says

    With Toyota knocking off Chyrsler Honda may feel cars are more in tune with the US market.
    Sad state of affairs, dollar in the tank, US auto makers in the tank, Harley stuggling and the nation facing stagflation.

  8. says

    Ha! Funny, Clive! But I think it’s “nimby”!

    This is sad news indeed. FYI, there’s no unions at Honda’s Alabama plant which was probably a factor in determining locations. That, coupled with a week dollar must make it hard for foreign companies to control costs. Sounds to me like Marysville, OH has been doomed for a while.

  9. todd says

    There is probably enough premium added to the price of a Wing already to absorb the added shipping costs and logistics. This won’t do much for reducing Honda’s carbon foot print for the bike though; I though Honda touted themselves as a “green” manufacturer.

    When you buy a “japanese” bike in the US most of the money stays in the US. Let’s see, there’s labor, domestic materials and components, tax dollars, social security payments, utilities, capital property and property management, transportation and other support services (laundry, food, janitorial, etc). The list goes on and on. I’d imagine more than 90% of the cost of goods sold goes is in the US. If anything Honda moving this to Japan means that it will contribute to Japan’s GDP. This is a sad loss but at least (so they say) the workers will be moved to other US Honda plants.

    -todd

  10. pghcyclist says

    I will avoid discussing economic policy. However this really saddens me. The conversion of the gl000 into the full on touring bike is an American creation. We are one of the only countries where a bike that can tour for 6000 miles actually makes sense. I cant wait to see the “new bike” but shame on you Honda. Yeah great go honda lets ship the biggest limo of a bike all the way across the ocean to the only nation that needs it.

    One the other hand. Hopefully this will encourage Us thought cost and patriotism to build better bikes in the Homeland.

  11. Jim says

    The article I saw on this noted that the Maryville factory is running at about 60% capacity. That added cost would certainly bridge the difference caused by the cheap dollar.

    Its pretty obvious that Honda has decided that the large motorcycle market in the US isn’t going to grow very much in the next few years.

  12. Cody G says

    I see some have the old attitude of “Buy American” only. Why don’t you have that attitude with other products like crude oil.

    I’ll stop buying foreign produced product…WHEN YOU STOP BUYING FOREIGN PRODUCED OIL!

    The bottom line is this: Domestic produced products (ie bikes, cars, etc) are much higher and poorer quality because of UNIONS.

    Domestic oil cost more to produce because of the environmentalists… the NIMBYs (not and my back yard) and the NOTES (not over there EITHER!).

    Again…read my lips…I will continue to buy Honda no matter where they are built. And again I will say……

    I’ll stop buying foreign products…when you stop buying foreign oil.

  13. says

    “Buy American” is a great idea as long as I don’t have to sacrifice quality to get the American product. Unfortunately, that’s too often the case. For example, I bought GM cars for 25 years but it got to the point where I couldn’t afford them any more so I started buying Hondas or Toyotas. I’m not saying the purchase price was higher on the GM products – it was the opposite. What I couldn’t afford was the constant break-downs, downtime for trips to the dealer for warranty work (when they would honor their warranty) etc.

    And don’t tell me that the money stays at home when you buy a Harley. Take a look at all the foreign parts that make up today’s Harley and you’ll see that a LOT of money goes overseas.

    If, instead of motor vehicles, it was the quality of domestic food that was suffering, which would you rather have – domestic fruit or vegetables that are bruised, wilted and bug infested or quality food from another country? That “buy American” chant loses it’s appeal rather quickly, doesn’t it? All I’m saying is if the American company can build what I want at an acceptable level of quality then I’m all for it. If not, then sell your junk to someone else.

  14. Zen says

    I’ve always supported Honda rather than over-priced American made junk.

    Note the article mentions no lay-offs. At least they are not moving operations to Mexico which is an insult to the consumer in the States.

  15. SLOWDOG says

    I’ve never been a Harley fan. If I’d been born 80 years ago I might have been an Indian guy. But I like the Goldwings and I don’t really care where they build them. I was proud to sell Hondas back in the seventies before they bult that plant and and I am proud to won a brand new Goldwing. I think its great that nobody will lose their job (even if they have to work on “cars”).
    I don’t think it’s that big of a deal if Honda thinks they are better off producing more cars in Marysville and more motorcycles in Japan. It may well cost more for the US consumer, but it must make sense for Honda.
    I drive a Ford truck and I’m happy with it…and I’ll probably get another Ford because I think the quality has really improved in recent years. But it’s ONLY gotten better because Detroit realized it had to compete with Japan. I don’t put all the blame on the unions…it’s been a team effort of mediocrity between management and labor for many years.