The Honda Indiana Auto Plant in Greensburg has begun mass production of the 2022 Civic Hatchback, making it the first plant in the U.S. to do so. The automaker has invested more than $50 million to prepare the facility for production, which included a nearly 60,000-square-foot expansion to house new laser brazing equipment. Larry Geise, plant lead at IAP, says the addition of the new vehicle is exciting for the plant, which began building the Civic when it opened in 2008.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Geise said the automaker is continuing to look at growth opportunities in Decatur County.
“It’s been a struggle. Everybody’s been struggling with COVID, as you know, for the last year and a half and obviously, we’re all looking beyond COVID,” said Geise. “Our real goal here is to stabilize our operations. We are doing that. We’re bringing new products in like this hatchback and so we see a very bright future for not just our business here, but also our local communities.”
Honda says several IAP employees lived and worked in Japan for up to two years to collaborate with the company’s R&D and manufacturing teams in an effort to make assembly of the Civic Hatchback easier for IAP workers.
The laser brazing equipment in the new building addition uses dual beam laser technology to join the roof of the new vehicle to the body side panels. Honda says the process creates a seamless exterior appearance and a stronger vehicle body. The assembly of the vehicle also includes using spray foam in hollow portions of the vehicle’s body structure to reduce noise transmission in the cabin.
The Greensburg facility, which totals more than 1.3 million square feet, also produces the CR-V, CR-V Hybrid and Insight Hybrid models. The facility employs more than 2,700 workers.
While the company is not saying if any new jobs are being created as a result of the investment, Geise says the facility has opportunities for a wide range of talent.
“I think that’s one thing that makes us really special in this area. We have opportunities for people coming right out of high school. We have opportunities for people that have been out of the workforce and want to come back into the workforce. We have opportunities for college education. So we have a very broad spectrum of opportunities here and it’s not just one key aspect.”
Geise says the investment in the IAP is not only good for the facility, but the community as well.
“I do think that it’s really important for us as one of the biggest employers in this area to be connected to not just the business activity that’s ongoing, but also the local communities,” he said. “We’re looking forward to continuing to work with not just Greensburg, but the surrounding counties, the surrounding cities and look for other opportunities for us to continue to grow and we’re really excited about where we are now and we’re looking forward to the future.”
Geise says the automaker is continuing to look at growth opportunities in Decatur County.