Honda expansion has big impact in eastern Indiana, says Bookout
By Rick Yencer
GREENSBURG, IN - That big expansion of 400 more jobs at Honda's auto assembly will also impact the many suppliers that operate in Muncie and elsewhere in eastern Indiana and the Midwest, according Brad Bookout, Delaware County economic development director.
Honda announced plans this week of a $40 million expansion that will build more hybrid Civics at the Greensburg plant. That will boost the plant's capacity from 800 to 1,000 a day with annual output of 250,000 vehicles.
Big demand for Civics is driving the expansion, says Bob Nelson, senior vice president of Honda Manufacturing in Indiana, to the point that production is finally catching up to demand. The Greensburg plant is the first of Honda's assembly operations in North America to build a gas-electric car which was the reason to land the work for Civic Hybrid.
The plant now employs close to 2,000 people and will jump to 2,300 with the expansion. Just go online to www.indiana.honda. com to apply for jobs that range from $15 to $19 an hour.
Bookout, who is also the Democratic candidate for 6th congressional district, against Republican and former state representative Luke Messer, said many companies locally would benefit from the expansion.
Keihin Aircon North American in Muncie already is hiring 20 more people, with more work to supply air conditioners and heaters to Honda, along with Tomasco in Winchester, that makes other parts for the Japanese auto giant.
And there are smaller, locally owned suppliers that also have parts work for Honda, Bookout said, just like the tool and tie casters that supplies parts for the former Chevrolet and Borg Warner plants in Muncie.
"That is definitely good economic news for the state," said Bookout, who recently went to China in search of economic opportunities.
The Midwest has more than 200 suppliers of the Honda plant in Greensburg, amounting to millions of dollars in contracts and payroll.
Indiana also has a large Toyota assembly plant on the other side of the state in Princeton that also bolster Indiana's auto industry from the decline of General Motors and Chrysler.