Honda dedicates AquaTrax plant

Honda of South Carolina Mfg., Inc. (HSC) dedicated a new plant for the assembly of Honda AquaTrax personal watercraft (PWC) April 25. South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford
and other state and local officials joined the event at Honda’s new $11 million plant, located adjacent to HSC’s existing facility that produces and assembles all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and engines.
HSC now employs more than 1,600 associates at its two plants for the production of ATVs, engines and PWC — a total investment of more than $111 million.
The new plant is Honda’s only dedicated PWC plant in the world. Annual PWC production will be based on market demand, with current plans to produce approximately 15,000 units of the AquaTrax in 2003. HSC began mass production of PWC in December 2002.
“A little more than one year ago, Honda did not even sell PWC. Now, South Carolina is home to the best PWC in the world,” said HSC President Hideki Ikegawa. “We have a dream to make this the best powersports plant in the world.”
Honda’s line of AquaTrax PWC includes the AquaTrax F-12 and the turbocharged F-12X. An all-new R-12X two-seat model is expected to be introduced soon. AquaTrax models were the first 4-stroke engine watercraft to gain certification for year 2006 emissions standards from both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
The decision to expand production at HSC coincides with Honda’s “Powersports” growth strategy — the full line of products Honda offers, including motorcycles, ATVs and the newest addition to the lineup, PWC.
HSC began production of ATVs in Timmonsville in July 1998, with an ATV facility that currently represents a capital investment of $100 million. The number of ATVs produced has expanded from two to eight models. Engine production has been added and the annual capacity is now 250,000 ATVs. HSC expects to reach the one million mark in cumulative ATV production in late 2003.
HSC exports ATVs to countries including Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. HSC also provides key ATV components to Honda’s Ohio motorcycle plant for ATV assembly there.
Honda began operations in North America in 1959 with the establishment of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., 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.

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