• May 29, 2008

As domestic automobile manufacturers cut production and lay off workers because they were caught off-guard when consumer buying habits switched to more fuel-efficient vehicles, Honda will effortlessly shuffle its production to meet U.S. demand for small cars. Without cutting any jobs in North America, Honda will move assembly of the Honda Pilot SUV and Honda Ridgeline pickup from Alliston, Ontario, to Lincoln, Alabama. This move will allow the Japanese automaker to increase production of the fuel-efficient Honda Civic in its Canadian plant. Later this year, Honda is expected to add another 2,000 jobs as it begins to build Civics in Indiana, as well. That plant will be Honda's seventh in North America. Honda has sold 34,163 units of the Civic in North America through April of this year, which is 8.2% more Civics sold on average per day than in 2007. For comparison's sake, Toyota has sold 32,435 Corollas, Ford has sold 23,850 Foci and Chevy has sold 18,636 Cobalts so far this year.

[Source: The Detroit News]



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  • 38 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      So much for "Buy American". Ford and GM are firing American workers, while Honda gives them jobs back. "Support America, buy Japanese" should be the new slogan.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Gee, does that mean Honda has more U.S. jobs now? Why don't you go look up number of U.S. Honda (automobile) jobs vs. GM and tell me if you statement is true. My guess is that GM has more U.S. jobs than Honda period (and don't forget they make motorcycle, ATVs, lawnmowers, etc.)

        But that is a brilliant deduction. Since GM used to have 600K U.S. only direct employ jobs and all of Toyota, Honda, Nissan and the rest have not filled that many jobs it means we are still in a negative gain from the destruction that, "Oh, I have to buy a Camry because it is rated 8.8/10 and a Malibu 8.6/10", has caused. Now you want to bend the truth (no, the jobs aren't filled in by the Japanese by anything but a fraction) and make it worse.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Japanese companies outsource everything except final assembly. So when times get lean, they squeeze their suppliers, who then lay off their workers. The layoffs don't come under their own names. This happens in their homeland too. You heard Toyota gives employment for life? Yeah, only to a few people. Most people toil away at Nippondenso selling parts to Toyota (or at a subcontractor who sells parts to Nippondenso) and when times get tight, these companies cut jobs.

        The American companies are trying to remake themselves in this image by outsourcing as much production as possible. For example, I can tell you from the pics of the American Axle plant that that used to be a GM plant, the sign is the characteristic shape GM put up in the late 70s. UAW contracts don't allow GM to outsource as much as they want. So they can't "platoon" their workers, laying them off when a model doesn't sell as well as they hoped, like a supplier does.

        Heck, just watch "8 Mile". Rabbit (Eminem's character) works at a supplier company. He works in automobile production, but not for the big 3. These people are paid a lot less than at the big 3, and might not even get 40 hours in every week (the downside to hourly employment). And since the big 3 pays so much more, any one of these people would love to get a job at a big 3 plant.

        Anyway, this is part of the reason Honda isn't nearly as big an employer as Ford or GM. And a reason that Honda can keep their people on in slow times. They've already configured to employ as few people as possible, so when tough times come, they just cut their contracts and keep as many people as they can. But people at their suppliers do lose jobs, make no mistake about that. If the Paseo turns out to be a loser (it did), all the companies that supply parts for it suffer and they make their employees feel the pain.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Not for long, there an old article from Autoblog who mentionned then Honda ramped up the CRV production in.... Mexico (for the Brazilian and Argentine markets but who knows if a small batch might come to the US and Canada as well). http://www.autoblog.com/2007/11/27/honda-ramping-up-cr-v-production-in-mexico/

        Since a couple of years Sony closed some plants http://www.engadgethd.com/2006/01/23/sony-closing-tube-plant-in-san-diego/ http://blogs.rnw.nl/medianetwork/sony-to-close-tv-parts-plant-cuts-650-uk-jobs and who knows if history will repeat with Toyota and Honda?
        • 6 Years Ago
        I meant 111 thousand. Sorry.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I do not care for the styling of the new Civic and preferred the last generation.

      This class(C?) of automobile is about to EXPLODE.

      Ford still has no B segment vehicle. Sad.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The new fiesta will be the B segment leader when it arrives., just wait. Ford has also boosted production of the focus , which sales have been up.

        I also work at a honda dealer and can vouch for the low supply of civics.
        • 6 Years Ago
        +1
        I agree...this Star Trek dash kills the whole design for me. I also like the CSX better that the Civic. (In Canada the ACURA CSX is a rebadged, more solid and better equipped Civic with much better front and rear lights...its actually the Civic in the rest of the world, a la TSX being the ACCORD)...anyways, back to the point....all newer Honda designs suck! The older gerenations are much better looking.
      • 6 Years Ago
      A friend wanted to buy a Prius, but the dealer said he'd have to pay $3000 over sticker price. He's getting a Civic.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I ran into the same situation. Wifey wants a hybrid. We went to the dealer. They told us that we couldn't order what we wanted, it was first come first served. And it was $500 over sticker.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ Jim in Tampa:

        It's still only available in 8 states, the nearest one to me being NJ... I've only seen one in my life.

        But I agree, I wouldn't mind having one at all.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I forgot to mention that the sticker on the Prius was about $2000 more than the Civic. I doubt the Prius would save $5000 in gas over the Civic. I suggest you do what my friend did and buy a non-hybrid that gets good mileage. I'm sure it won't be too hard to find a non-hybrid that can get 30 mpg or more in town.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The new slightly bigger and more horsepower Fit should be out for 2009. I think that will also be a big seller too. Wonder if the new ugly Pilot will be a hit?
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm a big fan of both old and new Hondas. I currently drive a 4th gen accord (1990) which is a really low and sporty car that doesn't compromise on looks, mpg, practicality, or space either. At the same time, I have a lot of respect for the new civic (for many of the same reasons as my cb7), which is the only economy car that, even in "base trim", is low to the ground, sporty looking, and doesn't have cheap looking tire-fender gaps or a tall profile. The mazda3 hatch is close, but also more expensive. The base cobalts and base (new) foci are a joke to look at. And I say this as a fan of many GM cars and a huge fan of their ls v8's.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The fit is a joke. So's the new civic. They need to just start reproducing the entire 89 Honda lineup again. Civics, accords, preludes, all with double wishbone suspension, 35+mpg, and tight, extremely fun to drive characteristics. I have 265,000 on my 89 accord, and 165,000 on my prelude. Both are great cars, and I don't see myself parting with either for a very long time, if ever.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "...and lets see, hows the Fit a joke? its better in every conceivable way compared to your 89 accord..."

        I think what Vintage means, is the older gen have more "souls", "pizzazz" and fun to drive then the current-ones who reminds me and give me the felling of just being a number like Number 6 in the 1960s British tv series The Prisoner or a brick similar to all the other bricks in the wall as Pink Floyd would said.

        When I check the Mazda 3 (who actually trails the Civic in Canadian sales but it's now #1 in the province of Quebec, kicking the Civic from its top spot when it dominated the province), it have the pizzazz and still got some "zoom-zoom" (or thanks to some bureaucrats here, we have to said "vroum-vroum") and to a latter extend the 6, they reminds me of what the Civic and Accord was before they decided to turn them into "common grand'pa grocery-getter car" or new "soccer mom" cars. (I was tempted to also said "Hertz/Avis/Entreprise rental-car look but it might be too politically incorrect) and no need to mention then the Accord is now "bigger, longer and wider" (I guess the next-gen planned for 2017-2018 after the one shown for 2013-2014 will have some Chrysler "fuselage look")

        And when I check the upcoming Ford Fiesta and Fiat 500, I welcome these Fit alternatives
        • 6 Years Ago
        I currently have an 07 Civic. I actually have found the new dash to be a wonderful advancement and wonder why other cars don't have it. I never have to look down at my speed. The three most important stats for my car's well being are presented to me without ever requiring any deflection in my eyes.

        LCD speedometer, instant understanding compared to analog. The fuel gauge and temperature gauge are the same. Simple graphical lines implying the extent of each. The only way those two could be better is if they changed color as they increased or decreased to worrisome levels.

        It is like a HUD in many ways.

        As for the rest of the car. Roomy and generally quiet. An impressive fit and finish both inside and out. Favorite interior feature, that parking brake placement - simple genius.

        Could it be improved, hell yeah, but at this price point (18k for an ex coupe is what I paid - haven't seen one dealer asking msrp) its hard to beat.

        Would I buy another. Sure, but I am leaning towards a more fun car next time. I got into the civic back in August to get out of a 20mpg Murano.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "Who cares. Avoid accidents in the first place"
        thats why they are called accidents.

        lets forget the POS 80's cars and think more about the mid 90's Honda's.

        and lets see, hows the Fit a joke? its better in every conceivable way compared to your 89 accord


        • 6 Years Ago
        Oh yeah geez I guess you're right I'm going to go buy a Suburban. Come on. Who cares. Avoid accidents in the first place.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Bought a Civic yesterday
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm pretty sure that a large majority of the car buying pubilc doesn't even know of any other hybrids besides the Prius. Nor do I believe they know what hybrid means.

      Anyway, it's cool that Honda can just (no pun intended) switch gears like that. Market projection says more Fit's and less Pilots? Then press the the button and adjust your supply to the demand.
      • 6 Years Ago
      One of these days, the no-longer-quite-as-Big Three will wake up and realize they can't keep blaming their woes on union problems, or "legacy" costs, or mystical global economic unfairness.

      I drive a Chevy. My wife drives a Chrysler. My first ride (which I still have) was a '72 IH Scout II. We've also owned two other Chevys and a Saturn, so I'm no domestic car-basher. Nor am I a blind patriot. I like GOOD cars, which Detroit seems not to know how to build.

      The Asian invasion is over a generation old. Didn't these guys ever see "Gung Ho"? Hell, even Ron Howard saw the revolution coming! Seriously Detroit, build better cars that make sense, not clunky trucks and SUVs that suck gas like it's going out of style, and maybe - just maybe - you'll keep the American auto industry off life support.
        • 6 Years Ago
        If you know domestics are making bad vehicles, but at same time all the vehicles you listed are domestics, how can you call yourself not a "blind patriot?"
        • 6 Years Ago
        Union issues and legacy costs are why they're having trouble turning a profit. That is NOT the reason why people have a low opinion of American cars.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Gung Ho came out AFTER Detroit/Flint lost a crapload of jobs, not before.

        If the folks on this site ran an auto company, I'm sure it'd overtake Toyota in a few years.

        Things look simple from a far, it's sure easy to think that you're smarter than everyone else when in reality there are big issues to running such a huge company and the people there are doing the best they can.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The Altima Hybrid is a well-kept secret because it has limited availability and can't be purchased nationwide
      • 6 Years Ago

      The way the post was written really does sound pretty anti-"Detroit", for no good reason other than to stir up the pot and appease the many Autoblog readers who enjoy writing about how poorly managed the Big 3 have been lately.

      That said, Honda was NEVER a truck company, so OF COURSE switching priorities is a lot easier, and less painful than the Big 3, which more or less specialize in trucks. Moreover, isn't the reason they're letting workers go mainly centered around the idea that large trucks and SUV's, which is their specialty, aren't selling in the wake of $4.00 gas? If you look at their car sales, they're actually increasing (Cobalt and Impala sales are up this year, believe it or not). Hey, GM's small cars may or may not be as competitive as Honda's (I actually think the Civic Si is sweet and probably one of the best small cars out there), but if you really *think* about this, it's not that GM is laying off it's entire workforce, it's mainly shifting it's priorities. They've publicly come out and said that they're actually ramping up production at factories that don't make trucks - so they too are increasing capacity at car plants, just like Honda is. Also, GM will replace a lot of the workers that were let go, with cheaper workers - hey, makes sense to me. If you're being strangled by the UAW, this is the only way to fly.

      Hey, if you're going to bash the Detroit car makers, at least have some sense of balance in your reporting that tells a more complete picture. Yes, GM is shrinking, but they have no other choice. And yes, they're still going to be bigger than Toyota and Honda in the USA(in terms of people employed) - even after this round of buyouts.
        • 6 Years Ago
        digitalzombie:
        I didn't say creating software. We're not talking about design here, merely mass production. Manufacturing software (i.e. replicating CDs/DVDs) is child-easy and switching a line from replicating one software product to replicating another can be done in minutes because nothing changes about the physical form-factor.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I think we are all guilty of focusing too much on subjective opinions instead of just being enthusiastic about cool cars. I'm hoping all of the Detroit (and old school Japanese companies) survive and thrive in the States - I want to see good cars and great competition. I know one thing - all the mainstream car companies, American and Japanese, are going to be selling a lot less trucks in the coming years, and that's going to force them all to change their supply chains.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You are the very reason why the big 3 can't improve. Be more harsh to them ok? It's for their own good.
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