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Basem Wasef

Honda Says "Sayonara, Ohio!"

By February 28, 2008

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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.

February 28, 2008 at 9:37 am
(1) Scottie says:

Seems like shipping 40,000 bikes across the Pacific would be cost prohibitive. But 100 bike per empployee yearly may not work either.

February 28, 2008 at 10:15 am
(2) MotorcycleED says:

A surprise, visited the Honda homcoming at the plant and its 1st class. The economics is hard to understand with the major of sales in North America.

February 28, 2008 at 11:23 am
(3) donald says:

when the most popular motorcycle manufacturer in the world finually gets its belly full of the hostile laws and regulations that america has put on all manufacturing, it most surely is the proper move to make….get the hell away from it all….

February 28, 2008 at 11:34 am
(4) Johnny says:

Honda sucks anyways… Im more of a suzuki guy myself

February 28, 2008 at 12:32 pm
(5) Pete says:

Thanks for that stunning insight into the MC industry Johnny.
I’m such an idiot..I always thought Honda built a pretty good product.

February 28, 2008 at 12:58 pm
(6) Busfreak says:

Donald! Well said, with all the BS manufacturing has to deal with here, I don’t blame them. To bad thats more jobs lost for the U.S. I am sure that there are outside contractors that are going to lay off now plus other revenue like taxes. When Honda starts bailing out. Gets me to worrying about whats going on.

February 28, 2008 at 1:06 pm
(7) Busfreak says:

Donald well said! With all the BS that manufacturing has to put up with in the U.S, who can blame them. Now, once again there are more Americans with there jobs in another country. Where is it going to end.

February 28, 2008 at 6:06 pm
(8) Bing says:

I didn’t even know they had a factory in ohio. Will wonders ever cease? I eventually plan to get a goldwing, hope this help bring down the cost. As for the out of work ohioions, Mcdonalds always is hiring…

February 29, 2008 at 9:44 am
(9) Scottie says:

I’m and accountant for a small start-up company and we do business in about 25 states. Ohio was the first to do a sales and use tax audit on us, and it was almost enough to make us pull our business out of ohio. They took five days of our time and then taxed us $40,000. You would think that a rust belt state would be more inviting.

February 29, 2008 at 8:16 pm
(10) Roy says:

“i’m and accountant
“? Whats that mean? Sorry, pet peeve of mine…

February 29, 2008 at 8:18 pm
(11) roy says:


March 3, 2008 at 2:56 pm
(12) Pete says:

When Honda moves MC production back to a brand new ‘state of the art’ factory in Japan, the Ohio plant wil start building cars. Very few, if any jobs will be lost. Putting people out of work has never been a Honda thing…just the domestics lay claim to that.

March 3, 2008 at 5:12 pm
(13) McGiva says:

Thanks pete, for a minute there some of us actually cared…

March 5, 2008 at 10:53 am
(14) Zoom says:

Honda makes an excellent motorcycle but I’m not sure this is good news for Goldwing owners. Some have speculated that productions will cease on the Goldwing in favor of lower cost bikes that the dealer can more easily move. Goldwing have been a good seller for Honda and it is hard to imagine that production will end but business is business! If they continue to produce Goldwings the cost to import will probably be higher.

March 5, 2008 at 11:47 am
(15) Dr. Love says:

South! That’s the real answer…Why don’t they just move their operations down South where the people are friendlier, cooking tastes better, labour is cheaper, and unions are scarce?

March 5, 2008 at 12:52 pm
(16) Pete says:

I think the odds of the GL being discontinued are zero. It’s the standard by which touring bikes are judged and has been for 30 years.
They’re not stupid … Japan built bikes are competitively priced in North America & Japan built GL’s will be too. The tooling is already made….no need to re-invent the wheel.

March 5, 2008 at 12:55 pm
(17) Dave says:

Goldwings and Shadows have been american made for years. Honda was the other American made bike before Polaris took the slogan.

March 5, 2008 at 2:33 pm
(18) Silver Ghost says:

Dr. Love, people up north are just as friendly as people down south, Cracker Barrel is not exactly “fine dining” and the reason you work for minimum wage is because there are no unions. The reality is that people in Japan make pretty good wages. If they really wanted to “go south”, it would be to Mexico of Brazil. Sorry, but the barbeque just isn’t good enough to make up for the rest of it.

March 5, 2008 at 5:35 pm
(19) Pete says:

Working for minimum wage is no longer a sign of not having a union. It is usually a sign of:
- Poor luck
- No education
- No ambition
Unions have long ago outlived their usefullness. They are now nothing more than a blood sucking drain on business. Look what they’ve done to GM, Ford & Chrylsler. It’s no accident Honda & Toyota build a quality product, make a profit and keep their employees happy without the albatross of a union hanging around their neck.

March 5, 2008 at 7:35 pm
(20) Bill says:

My next motorcycle will be built in York PA. Like to keep some of the money in the USA. WHAT UNION? Honda never had one. Its money, money and mine is staying in the USA as best I can spend it here on USA made.

March 5, 2008 at 7:52 pm
(21) Dick says:

The problems I had with my American made GL-1800A ended my loyalty to Honda. I have owned their motorcycles since 1968, but this is my last. Maybe things will improve in Japan.

March 5, 2008 at 8:24 pm
(22) G.B. says:

Let me see what is going on, HONDA WILL SHIFT all it`s motorcycle workers to build autos. A good US auto make would put them all out of work. As a union member– the blood sucking union bosses would start crying. Unions are nothing but the same as a big business–they have out lived their usefulness. Honda is a great motorcycle.
Maybe Harley should move to Japan–then you will get a better motorcycle at a goog price. OhiO–find a cat and lift it`s tail

March 6, 2008 at 4:30 am
(23) Jeff says:

Yes Honda makes (made) a great American built motorcycle ! This is some bad news for Ohio And myself . So for me It’s time to move on . The new Victory Vision came out at the right time , I took for a ride last month and was very pleased to know this bike is all American And handles as well as my goldwing ! Good- by Honda

March 6, 2008 at 3:26 pm
(24) Pete says:

There’s a huge difference between ‘good ole USA built’ and a Gold Wing built anywhere. It doesn’t matter where Honda builds the GL, it has always been and always will be 10 times the quality of anything the North American union shops could dream about, much less build.
Let’s see the Victory with 200,000 miles on it….a GL is just starting to run good by that point.

March 6, 2008 at 6:16 pm
(25) G.B. says:

Jeff, you better read the real reports on Victory–they are trying but, the bike is not there yet–I would wait on the victory Vision and see if it stays around. The only thing about Victory is it is over priced.

March 7, 2008 at 5:17 pm
(26) B.C . says:

Ohio is a terrible place for manufacturing. I believe utilities is the biggest drawback. Ashtabula County which is in N.E. Ohio has the third highest water rate in the nation and we have Lake Erie here. The village of Rock Creek had to take a loan to pay their water bill. The gas company and Elect. co. and even the sewer rates are just so unreasonable. Everyone is struggling. It’s horrible.

March 7, 2008 at 9:31 pm
(27) Garth says:

this article and site is a good example of the instant information age. April issue of Rider (the only mag. other than American Motorcyclist I will subscribe to anymore.)The article gives no clue that the plant will be relocated and touts the great benifets for the big cruisers being built in the US. Obvously Honda didn’t read the article. PS it’s a good article with info on the production process of the big bikes. Keep up the good work Wasef to keep us current, guess will read about this in a June or July mag. somewhere. (:

March 8, 2008 at 3:38 am
(28) motorcycles says:


Yes, the immediacy of the web is hard to beat. But I’ll also say there’s something about holding a magazine in your hands; I hope both media stick around for a long time.


March 10, 2008 at 3:36 pm
(29) Rich says:

Think about it, should cost less to import motorcycles than cars, suv’s, and trucks. Thirty year old plant compared to a new one. Will miss the Homecoming though.


March 14, 2008 at 1:21 pm
(30) Carol says:

Obvious the person stating the south is friendlier doesn’t live here…OR hasn’t relocated here…moving the factory south would lower the quality and people would resent you moving in on “thur” territory. Yeah…going south is not a solution…
Or were you refering to Mexico….rolling eyes!

May 5, 2009 at 2:44 am
(31) richard reynolds says:

I have one comment. I think honda should keep their crap in japan. no more goldwings for me. I feel americans should ride american. and thats no longer honda goldwing. I will go with a real motorcycle thaTS MADE IN AMERICA. HARLEY DAVIDSON.

May 5, 2009 at 2:57 am
(32) Alex says:

Wow. Alot of negative coments torwards ohio. Alot of you dont even have a clue. We still have 3 Honda plants around Marysville. East liberty Honda, Marysville Auto Plant, and the Transy in Indian lake. All within a 30 min drive. Thats about 8,000 employees per plant. They have already Fired more than half of the workers that worked at the motorcycle plant. As for the ass who made a statement about working at a McDonalds just remember Hindsight is always 20/20 you jerkoff. Thats alot of people in just this state, in Union county that have lost there jobs. You could be next workin out your garage trying to make your morgage payments. Its only gonna get worse. ELP is supposedly Moving to Canada, MAP to Mexico, and the ITP to Canada as well. If they move Withdraw from Ohio Expect it to happen all over the U.S.

May 5, 2009 at 2:59 am
(33) Alex says:

Honda owns Harley! They bought them a few years ago and allowed them to keep there name. Honda buys there parts and such. Harley is not american anymore. Unless you fix up a beater.

May 5, 2009 at 3:07 am
(34) Mike says:

Lol. Honda-Davidson. He’s right you know.

May 6, 2009 at 11:34 pm
(35) dude says:

This is a conundrum for sure. Does anyone recall the outcry of those when honda opened their first manufacturing plants? Anyway instead of pointing fingers north and south, can anyone honestly explain without the usual dogma, why we can’t make things in the good ol’u.s.of A. Anymore.

May 7, 2009 at 12:42 am
(36) TenSigh says:

It’s ironic ‘coz “Ohio” in Japanese means “Good Morning”. (Thanks Yorick for pointing this out!)

August 8, 2010 at 7:09 pm
(37) Jammerc says:

My family all owns Honda’s and there are alot of us. I am short and I like the stying of the Honda shadow but the foot controls are too far forward for us shorter riders and there are alot of us. therefore, I ride and enjoy a Suzuki Intruder styling because of the comfort of the pegs, otherwise I might own a Honda as well. I also like the sportier style of the Intruder or boulevard c50 sport model. Can Honda come up with a nicely sporty not bulky Harley look alike with footpegs that are back a bit farther? Just a request. I am a serious rider. I rode across country in 2007 and do those kinds of rides alot.

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