US: Honda increases manufacturing flexibility in anticipation of SUV boom image

Japan’s third largest automaker, Honda Motor Co., has opted to invest $85 million to maximize the flexibility of its East Liberty, Ohio, manufacturing facility – allowing the plant to build a second nameplate if needed.

The decision to lit the production prowess of the US factory comes from the positive outlook of SUV and truck sales in the market, with the East Liberty facility now preparing to receive new welding equipment, conveyors and other components that would allow it to build the Acura MDX crossover from early 2017. The factory already produces the Honda CR-V SUV and Crosstour hatchback crossover, as well as the Acura RDX crossover. The MDX production will also continue unfazed at Honda’s Lincoln, Alabama facility where the Honda Pilot crossover, Ridgeline pickup and Odyssey minivan are also built.

John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda, forecasts that the company will need the second source for the MDX for increased manufacturing flexibility as overall SUV and truck sales rise. The Japanese company will further drive growth in the segment with a refreshed Pilot crossover this year and an updated Ridgeline pickup in 2016. He added that if both sales for the Pilot and MDX models remain strong, the company would be in a position to support the demand increase with the updated production capabilities.

Via Automotive News