When American Honda opened its South Carolina manufacturing facility on July 1, 1998, plant managers knew the facility located in Timmonsville could produce mass numbers of ATVs per hour, day, month, year. But, at the time, producing one million ATVs seemed like a dream. The dream is a reality.
On Dec. 24, Honda of South Carolina Mfg., Inc., produced its one millionth ATV. The model was a TRX400EX sport quad. This was at the end of a year that say more than 243, 000 ATVs produced — a number that far exceeded 2002’s production high of 234, 453 units.
ATVs produced at the plant are exported to several countries including Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. ATVs aren’t the only thing produced at the facility, though. Honda makes engines, fuel tanks, differentials and swingarms. These additional items are shipped to the OEM’s Ohio motorcycle plant for assembly.
In 1998, Honda used the Timmonsville facility for the production of two ATV models and had 200 employees. That has increased through the years and the plant now produces multiple ATV models, (Foreman, Rubicon, Rancher, Rancher 4x4, Recon, 400EX and 250EX) and now AquaTrax PWCs, too. The facility comprises two buildings and employs about 1,600 employees. In all, Honda says the investment in the facility is more than $111 million.
With the increased popularity of ATVs, many Japanese manufacturers have moved some manufacturing to the United States. Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha all have facilities within the United States. Some models, like the TRX450R, however, still see full manufacture and assembly in Japan.
Honda began operations in North America in 1959 with the establishment of American Honda Motor Co. Honda’s first overseas subsidiary. Honda employs more than 26,000 associates in North America in the design, manufacture and marketing of products. Honda has 12 manufacturing plants in North America and operates a total of 110 plants in 31 countries.
Copyright 2004 Powersports Business