Honda honored 53 suppliers in North America for excellence in key performance categories including quality, value and on-time delivery for their efforts during the company’s record production year in 2012 on Thursday.
The annual conference includes a network of 632 Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) suppliers. Honda also met separately with service parts suppliers that provide parts for in-market Honda and Acura vehicles, honoring an additional 50 suppliers for outstanding performance.
After a very challenging 2011, with two epic natural disasters in Japan and Thailand disrupting Honda’s global parts procurement and production, Honda’s North American operations manufactured a record 1.7 million automobiles in 2012, as the company worked to replenish its product pipeline and rebuild dealer inventories. This included 1.2 million passenger cars and light trucks in the United States. As a result, Honda set a record by purchasing $24.2 billion in parts and materials from OEM suppliers in the region, including $21.9 billion from parts suppliers in the U.S.
“After 30 years of building cars in America, we are shifting into even higher gear,” said Hidenobu Iwata, president and CEO of Honda North America Services, LLC, and leader of North American automobile manufacturing. “We are transforming Honda in North America as we grow our capabilities and assume a much larger role within global Honda.”
In addition to supporting its ongoing expansion in North America, Honda’s 632 suppliers in the region will take on additional responsibilities to lead the launch of global products, such as the Civic, that Honda manufactures in markets around the world. This means the North American region will lead the engineering and manufacturing launches of these new models, and then share production knowledge and processes with Honda plants around the world.
Further, in 2014, Honda will open a new auto plant in Celaya, Mexico, to build the next generation of the Honda Fit and other vehicles for the subcompact segment. This will expand Honda’s North American production capacity to nearly two million (1.92 million) passenger cars and light trucks. “As a result, 95 percent of the vehicles we sell in North America will be made here as well,” Iwata said to the more than 600 suppliers attending the event. “In addition, within the next two years, Honda will become a net exporter from North America.”
After more than 30 years of expansion, Honda and its large supplier network have established a strong foundation in North America, and this is a starting point to take on new global responsibilities, said Jim Wehrman, senior vice president at Honda of America Mfg.
“I guess you could say ‘no good deed goes unpunished,’ because our success together has earned us increased responsibility to make North America Honda’s leading and most competitive region in the world,” Wehrman said. “Now we must have a global focus. This is a giant leap for Honda in North America.”
Suppliers will also support a substantial increase in the export of Honda and Acura automobiles from North America in the next few years, to a level doubling last year’s export total of nearly 100,000 units. This means that for the first time in its history, Honda will export more vehicles from North American that it will import from Japan.
“Together, we are now on a global stage,” said Tom Lake, division manager of Honda’s North American Purchasing. “Honda is growing, and we want our suppliers to grow with us and share in that success. To support our global role, you need to provide strong regional leadership in both the design and production of innovative, next-generation parts and components.”
Lake added that Honda’s suppliers in North America will have both opportunities and challenges as they assume these new responsibilities to expand production and meet the expectations of customers in other regions of the world. This will include initiatives to improve the quality, efficiency and flexibility of their production operations.
— Daily News