Honda pouring $355M into Ohio plant upgrades

The second quarter was not a good one for Honda. Supply shortages as a result of the debilitating earthquake in Japan and the subsequent tsunami resulted in a U.S. market share reduction from 10.6 percent to 9.3 percent. North American plants were impacted as well, as production dropped 26 percent from Q2, 2010.

While Honda's troubles have been severe, they're short term, and Honda has always been a forward-thinking company. That's why it should come as no surprise that the Japanese automaker is sinking $355 million into its Ohio facilities. The Detroit News reports that Honda will spring for $166 million in improvements to its East Liberty plant and another $64 million on a stamping press at the Marysville plant.

The automaker is also investing in its Raymond research and development center, with upgrades that include a new wind tunnel. Honda won't say exactly how much it is spending on the wind tunnel, but Frank Ohlemacher, a project manager at Ohio State's Center for Automotive Research, says tunnels range in cost from $25 million for a "half scale" model to over $100 million for a full-size tunnel.

The $355 million in upgrades doesn't include the $94 million Honda says it will spend modifying its Lincoln, Alabama plant and $800 million to build a small-car plant in Mexico.

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