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Honda of South Carolina begins Pioneer UTV production

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley joined more than 900 associates and guests at Honda of South Carolina Mfg., Inc. (HSC) on Friday in Timmonsvillle, S.C., to celebrate the production start-up of the all-new line of Honda’s next generation side-by-side, the 2014 Pioneer. HSC is investing $27 million in the Timmonsville plant over the next four years and has added more than 65 new jobs for side-by-side production, which HSC is manufacturing for the first time.

“Today, we celebrate a new South Carolina-made vehicle, powered by the passion and the pride of all Honda associates who are committed to exceeding the expectations of our Honda Powersports customers,” said Brian Newman, president of HSC.

In addition to being manufactured in South Carolina, Newman said the new Pioneer was designed and engineered by Honda’s R&D operations in the U.S.

To accompany the production start-up for the new side-by-side product line, HSC is celebrating its 15th Anniversary (July 1, 2013) of producing Honda powersports products. To commemorate this company milestone, HSC is donating $100,000 to Francis Marion University to assist in the development of a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering Program, which will begin in the spring of 2014.

HSC began production of ATVs in July 1998 with a workforce of approximately 200 associates. The initial $30 million, 200,000 square-foot ATV manufacturing plant was the beginning of Honda of South Carolina’s significant growth in Florence County. In fall 2000, operations expanded to add engine production to the plant.  Now, a 535,000 square-foot facility employing 650 associates with a cumulative investment of $308 million, HSC has produced (using domestic and globally sourced parts) nine different ATV models since its start in 1998, including the FourTrax and SporTrax series, and seven different engines.

“The university is grateful to Honda of South Carolina for their generous support of our new Industrial Engineering program,” said Fred Carter, president of Francis Marion University. “Over the last 15 years, Honda has been a very supportive corporate friend and partner. Their latest gift is yet another example of their commitment to Francis Marion and the Pee Dee area. Their benevolence continues to make a significant difference in the lives of our students.”

“We congratulate Honda of South Carolina in their new Honda side-by-side production accomplishment,” Haley said. “We are also excited that Honda has chosen to create more jobs in Timmonsville and bring a more than $27 million investment opportunity to the state of South Carolina. When a world-class company like Honda increases its footprint in the Pee Dee region, it shows that South Carolina is a great place to do business.”

The 2014 Honda Pioneer models have been designed to fulfill the needs of those who use a side-by-side for either recreation or utility with quick acceleration, a smooth-riding long-travel suspension and industry-leading safety features. The Pioneer 700 offers all of these features for an incredible value, while the Pioneer 700-4 boasts an innovative convertible design that allows the two rear seats to fold into the bed — a feature that gives it unmatched versatility. These workhorse machines can also be customized through a full line of more than 50 Honda Genuine Accessories/Honda Signature Accessories.

Available colors are Honda Phantom Camo, Olive and Red. The Pioneer 700-4 will be available to dealers in mid-August, with the 700 in mid-September. The Pioneer retails for $9,999, with the Pioneer-4 at $11,699.

Powersports Business editor Dave McMahon was on hand in South Carolina for the roll-off ceremony and press ride, and will provide a report in an upcoming edition of PSB. For now, know that 500 Honda dealers sold the Big Red, which is being replaced by the Pioneer. In 2013, more than 900 Honda dealers will be selling the Pioneer.

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