For the first time in company history, a Honda plant outside Japan will take the lead on developing the manufacturing processes for the next generation of one of the world’s best-selling cars, the Honda Civic. By investing $857 million in its Alliston, Ontario plants, Honda is signalling to the world the importance it places on its manufacturing operations in Ontario.

Vice-President of Honda of Canada Manufacturing (HCM), Gilles Madore stated the facilities in Alliston, Ont. have a proven record of successfully launching new models. The expansive operation in southern Ontario has successfully launched vehicles like the Odyssey, Pilot, Ridgeline and Acura MDX.

Honda’s global offices were impressed with Alliston’s strong supplier base and skilled workforce. The Ontario plant already has a long history of producing high quality vehicles so it was a logical decision to keep re-investing in Ontario.

"Auto plants are very complicated operations," Madore explained. "There are hundreds of processes and the car is touched by hundreds of people. It takes a lot of skilled people to help design and develop equipment and processes."

A history of continued long-term investment in Ontario

HCM first began production in 1986 with the assembly of the Honda Accord. It marked the first time a Japanese automobile manufacturer had established a production facility in Canada.

In 1988, the plant switched to producing the Honda Civic. A second plant opened in 1998 that built the Honda Odyssey. A third facility, an engine plant, opened in September 2008.

Today, HCM is one of Honda's premier manufacturing facilities in the world. Honda has invested more than $3.9 billion in its Canadian plants. HCM currently produces Civic Sedan, Si and Coupe in Plant 1, and CR-V in Plant 2.

The manufacturing facility has an annual capacity of 390,000 units and employs approximately 4,000 associates.

A collaborative and innovative ecosystem

HCM purchases approximately $2.1 billion worth of materials annually from Canadian suppliers. Depending on the vehicle, there are up to 44 OEM suppliers of larger components that are Ontario-based.

"And most of those are high-value components," Madore added. "You want those suppliers close to you because of cost, complexity and size. Proximity to a strong supplier base also helps reduce transportation costs and our overall carbon footprint."

The investment brings with it a chance to review procedures, modernize equipment and develop new processes. As Honda continues to re-invest in Ontario, there is plenty of opportunity for new suppliers specialized in designing, manufacturing and installing new equipment.

The existing supplier base includes approximately 700+ automotive parts suppliers and 500+ Tool, Die and Mould makers. Ontario is also the second largest IT jurisdiction in North America, which is a key factor in manufacturing today’s connected cars.

As the automotive industry becomes more sophisticated and complex, the importance of maintaining the highest quality standards is paramount—manufacturing has become more than the assembly of metal components and gears. You need workers who are educated and up to the challenge of bridging the world of automotive and IT. You need an environment focused on driving the future of innovation. And as Honda discovered long ago, you need to be in Ontario.

 

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