Honda has announced they are relocating their U.S. motorcycle manufacturing operations to Japan. A statement quotes president and CEO Akio Hamada as saying, "This was a complex decision tied to the important role that Honda in Ohio plays within our North American automobile operations." Honda's Marysville, Ohio plant produced 44,000 VTXs and Gold Wings last year, and a total of 2.25 million motorcycles and ATVs since it opened in 1979. Also consolidating to the new plant in Kumamoto are motorcycle manufacturing operations from Hamamatsu, Japan.
Honda states that "The move reflects a global Honda strategy for production of certain larger motorcycles," and their announcement that the DN-01 sport cruiser will be available for sale in Japan this March signals a willingness to bring to life some of their recent concept bikes. The Ohio factory's 450 motorcycle-related employees won't be laid off and will be reassigned to automotive production jobs at nearby Honda plants.
Once the dust settles and the move is complete in 2009, it sure will be interesting to find out what Honda has up their sleeves in Japan.