North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory and Shinji Oketani, Honda Power Equipment president, visit the assembly line during the celebration of Honda's 30 years in Swepsonville, N.C. (Photo by Michael Roth, RER)
Honda Power Equipment Mfg. this week marked the 30th anniversary of operations at its Swepsonville, N.C., facility by announcing a new $8.5 million investment in plant operations. The investment will be in the innovation of production processes and preparation for the addition of Hondato its production lineup.
The 375,000-square-foot facility, which houses Honda power equipment production,production and R&D operations, has long served as a major producer of Honda power equipment products for worldwide distribution. The factory has the capacity to produce more than 2 million products per year. In 2013, more than 400,000 units were exported to overseas markets from its North Carolina operations. With the addition of the new investment, Honda has invested nearly $250 million in its Swepsonville operations during its 30 years in operation. The facility has produced more than 30 million products.
“We are celebrating 30 years of success at Honda Power Equipment Manufacturing because of the everyday hard work of our power product associates in North Carolina,” said Takuji Yamada, Honda’s chief operating officer, North America. “Our founder, Soichiro Honda, believed that we could make people happy through technology. Now, many years later, Honda is still focused on using unique Honda technologies to help people get things done.”
HPE is the sole global production source for all Honda GC and GCV general-purpose engines and all Honda single-stage snow blowers. Currently, 155 domestic and international suppliers work with HPE, 45 of which are based in North Carolina, where Honda has additional operations including Honda Aircraft Co., a light jet maker, American Honda Finance Co., and Honda Aero in Burlington, makers of turbofan engines.
“Manufacturing power products in North Carolina was once only a dream for Honda,” said Shinji Oketani, HPE president. “Our dream lives on today after 30 years at HPE, as well as a strong desire as a company to make products that help people get things done and improve their daily lives.”
The R&D team in Swepsonville also designs and develops most Honda lawn mower, snow blower and all-purpose engine products. The facility also produces string trimmers, and water.
Honda officials announced that production will soon begin on a new snow blower. North Carolina governor Pat McCrory quipped that he deserved some credit for the continued snow blower development since the three worst snowstorms in the state’s history have occurred during his 16 months in office.
Apart from the joke, however, McCrory was enthusiastic about HPE’s contributions to the area. “We could not have gotten this continued investment unless you were doing your job, had a strong work ethic, had strong love of your company, strong commitment to each other and believed in the product you were building,” McCrory told the more than 600 Honda associates who work at the facility.
Honda Power Equipment, based in Alpharetta, Ga., has three operating units: Honda Power Equipment, Honda Marine and Honda Engines. Its products include engines, generators, lawn mowers, pumps, snow blower, tillers, trimmers and marine engines.