Honda of America manufacturing is centered in Marysville, Ohio, just northwest of Columbus, having started in the 1970s building lawn mowers and motorcycles, and eventually leading up to the first auto factory in the 1980s. Today the Honda factory in Marysville is a 4 million square foot facility building Accords and Accura TLXs.
In addition they have recently opened the Honda Heritage Center, celebrating their 50+ year history in North America. This center serves as a museum and tech center, which we visited a few months earlier. We are back this day to participate in the guided factory tour.
The tour started out in a Heritage Center conference room where they gave a brief power point, complete with donuts and coffee! From there we went out to the main floor where the guide walked us through the history of the company in the well represented displays including; The second Accord to come off the line (ironically the first is in the Henry Ford Museum in Michigan), a 1971 N600, the first Honda car sold in America, C100 motorcycle, made famous in the 1960s slogan ‘You Meet The Nicest People on A Honda’.
The tour continued through an excellent display of the cars through the years, bikes through the years, an example of race cars,as well as a jet airplane. Since this building houses the tech center you can observe some lab areas where they are improving on factory automation.
From there we were instructed to go to our cars to drive across the road to the parking lot for the manufacturing area. Not surprisingly my Audi was the only non Honda in the parking lot, but we paraded across the road, parked and headed in.
Once in the lobby we were each handed hard hats and headphones/ear protection that the guide would talk to us through. After some brief safety instructions we headed in. Unlike the Ford Factory tour in Dearborn we actually went onto the manufacturing floor. Starting in an area where they are stamping out parts from massive rolls of metal, with huge presses (running at about 150 db, which made us thankful for the ear protection), we continued throughout the entire facility.
The only area we were unable to observe was the paint shop, due to the risk of contamination. As we made our way on the tour we passed an area with robotic welders, blasting sparks close enough to us they were bouncing on the floor in front of us. We continued on past the assembly points where the interiors were installed, doors connected, and finally the engines (built elsewhere) were dropped in.
Finally we went past quality control where drivers place the new car onto rollers and perform a series of tests before hustling out and parking them in the massive holding lot. Having spent many years working in support of manufacturing the opportunity to tour the factory floor at Honda was a special treat, and well worth the wait. And best of all, it is free.