Auto Components News

2021 Progress: Honda is proactive during the pandemic

Information provided by American Honda

Launching an all-new vehicle is challenging. Launching multiple all-new vehicles in the midst of a pandemic put the determination and commitment of Honda associates to the test.

From the outset, the Honda team has remained committed during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep the company’s associates safe at work, while continuing to meet the growing expectations of customers around the world.

As new health and safety activities were introduced into the daily operations such as mask wearing, social distancing, temperature scans and contact tracing, Honda associates embraced the changes and worked together to make the best of the new environment.

“This global pandemic has certainly been a challenging time for everyone, and I know we are all ready for brighter days,” said Rick Schostek, executive vice president of American Honda. “I am extremely proud of the daily dedication and commitment from our Honda associates, suppliers and logistics teams to ensure the safety of themselves and those around them even as we remain laser-focused on the needs of our customers. We also are thankful for the strong partnerships we have with the state and local governments that have provided incredible support and guidance during these most challenging times.

“If there’s one thing COVID-19 has taught us, it’s that we are all in this together and together we are stronger,” Schostek said.

Milestones and New Models

The “one team” mentality is a big reason why associates at Honda of America Mfg. achieved a major milestone in 2020, celebrating the production of the company’s 20-millionth automobile in Ohio. Associates cheered as a 2020 Platinum White Pearl Honda Accord Hybrid rolled off the production line at the Marysville Auto Plant, Honda’s first auto plant in America.

The celebrations didn’t stop there.

The Marysville Auto Plant also launched the all-new 2021 Acura TLX sport sedan into production.  Honda associates in Ohio, from R&D to manufacturing, played integral roles in bringing this car to the customer.

A few miles down the road at Honda’s East Liberty Plant, associates have been preparing for the mass production launch of another all-new Acura product. Early in 2021, the team will begin producing Acura’s new flagship model, the 2022 Acura MDX.  In fact, all Acura products are now built in Ohio.

While these are great accomplishments and critical to the future of the company, the biggest achievement for the Honda team in 2020 was its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

One Team, One Cause

Beyond the ongoing effort to maintain the health and safety of Honda associates in the workplace, the Honda team has been actively involved in supporting the needs of communities in Ohio and across the country.

Building on the commitment of Honda associates to community volunteerism, Honda’s COVID-19 Special Matching Gift Program enabled associates to make monetary donations to food programs in their communities, matching up to $1,000 for each individual associate. In total, over $127,000 was raised, which funded over 965,000 meals. The matching fund was in addition to Honda’s $1 million pledge to address food insecurity. Honda also launched the #ThankaHealthCareHero social media campaign to encourage people to offer gratitude to doctors, nurses, paramedics, fire, police and other frontline professionals who place themselves at risk to protect the public’s health and safety.

In addition, Honda engineers at the Ohio R&D Center in Raymond, modified 10 Honda Odyssey minivans to support the transportation of healthcare workers and those potentially infected with COVID-19, in the City of Detroit.

To create a safe environment for the driver while transporting these at risk passengers, Honda engineers installed a plastic barrier behind the front seating area, as well as making certain modifications to the ventilation system to maintain an air pressure differential between the front and rear seating areas.

Separately, when a call went out across the country for ventilators, Honda associates took quick action to help. Honda teamed with Dynaflo to increase the company’s production of diaphragm compressors, a key component of portable ventilators.

Honda transformed a 6,000-sq. ft. area of its Technical Development Center in Marysville into a space for associates to assemble the compressors. Using the production expertise of its experienced manufacturing associates, Honda quickly ramped up production and provided Dynaflo with almost 30,000 compressors.

Finally, as part of its broad-ranging response to help protect frontline healthcare professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic, Honda engineers developed new methods to use manufacturing equipment to produce face shields. In addition to supplying face shields to Honda facilities, the company donated 136,000 face shields to healthcare workers at 379 medical facilities in 45 states.

Honda engineers at Honda Engineering North America (EGA) in Marysville, the in-house engineering company that creates much of Honda’s production equipment, made the face shields by designing new uses for high-speed plastic injection-molding technology ordinarily used in the production of vehicle components.

So, while 2020 will go down as one of the most challenging years in our history, the Honda team responded quickly and with passion to support the needs of its customers and make a difference in the lives of people in Ohio and across America.

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