Honda will spend $98 million to upgrade its engine plant in Anna, Ohio, to build components for a new generation of continuously variable transmissions. The Anna plant will build pulleys for the new transmissions, which will be assembled at another Honda facility in Russells Point, Ohio.
The new transmissions form part of Honda's "Earth Dreams" powertrain lineup, the first U.S.-market application of which will be the 2013 Accord. Production of the 2013 Accord will begin later this year in Marysville, Ohio. Honda will start building the CVTs in Russells Point this summer using pulley components from Japan, but will switch to Ohio-source parts once the plant in Anna is up to speed.
"The production of this new CVT technology puts the Buckeye State right in the middle of Honda's global strategy," Honda of America manufacturing CEO Hide Iwata said in a statement.
Honda's Anna engine plant currently has the capacity to build 1.18 million engines annually, and will dedicate 84,000 square feet of factory space to lathing, grinding, and assembling the pulleys that are crucial to continuously variable transmissions. The plant also will build Honda's new Earth Dreams 2.4-liter inline-four engine, which makes its debut coupled to the new CVT in the 2013 Accord -- Honda says that powertrain will be at least 10 percent more fuel-efficient than a current version with a five-speed automatic.
The Russells Point factory, for its part, already assembles automatic transmissions and four-wheel-drive systems, currently employing about 1050 people. Finally, Honda has promised that the next-generation Acura NSX supercar will be developed and assembled in Ohio. The company currently employs over 13,500 people in Ohio.