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HONDA COMMEMORATES 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF U.S. AUTO MANUFACTURING

 HONDA COMMEMORATES 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF U.S. AUTO MANUFACTURING
 MARYSVILLE, Ohio, Nov. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Kansas bank courier Gordon Bearss and his 1986 Honda Accord enjoyed a homecoming at Honda's Marysville Auto Plant today. Bearss (pronounced Bars) drove his Accord -- with over 600,000 miles on the odometer -- into the plant where it was made in 1986. Then, courtesy of Honda, he exchanged his 1986 Accord, driving a new 1993 Honda Accord Wagon off the assembly line.
 Customers like Bearss have helped make Honda's U.S.-made Accord the best-selling automobile in the U.S. since 1989. The Accord's popularity has kept more than 10,000 associates at Honda's two Ohio auto plants and an engine plant busy producing over 2.78 million automobiles since the first plant opened -- ten years ago this month. Bearss' homecoming appearance helped associates in the plant celebrate the tenth anniversary. Honda associates, dealers and suppliers gathered Tuesday night at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich. where the first U.S.-made Honda Accord is enshrined. Industry analyst Maryann Keller, managing director of Furman Selz, talked about the role of the Accord in the marketplace. "The Accord has developed into a standard for mid-sized cars for quality, efficiency and performance," said Keller. "It has evolved during the 1980s to become larger and more luxurious, yet never has the Accord lost its true philosophy."
 David Cole, director of the Office for the Study of Automotive Transportation at the University of Michigan, spoke of the evolution of Honda's U.S. auto manufacturing operations. "When Honda arrived in the U.S., they were routinely called a Japanese transplant," said Cole. "However, Honda has become more and more an American company. In fact, more American than Japanese. The term New American Manufacturer is perhaps more appropriate."
 Robert Darnell, chairman and CEO of Inland Steel, a Burns Harbor, Indiana-based Honda supplier since the plant opened in 1982 talked about Inland's relationship with Honda. "Responding to Honda's quality and customer satisfaction requirements has been a challenge," said Darnell. "At times we thought Honda had such high standards that we could never meet their expectations. But when problems arose, Honda people were there to help work through them together. So, while demanding, Honda has been equally supportive."
 Inland is one of 210 U.S. automotive suppliers providing parts or materials to Honda's U.S. for auto manufacturing operations. In the fiscal year ending March 31, 1992, Honda purchased more than $2.8 billion in parts and materials from U.S. supplier companies.
 The U.S.-made Accord represents three major factors in Honda's growth in America: 1) the development of the Accord, 2) the pioneering decision to produce it in America and 3) the Accord's evolution into America's best-selling car.
 Honda began studying the feasibility of producing cars in America in 1974. When Honda announced plans to build an auto plant in the U.S. in January 1980, many industry observers viewed the move as a major risk. Since the plant opened in November 1982, however, Honda has grown to become the fourth largest manufacturer of automobiles in the U.S.
 Honda's development in the United States has not been limited to manufacturing. Honda R&D North America, Inc. has grown since its establishment in 1975 to include two major centers in Los Angeles and Ohio which teamed to develop the Accord Wagon in 1990 and the 1993 Civic Coupe. Both models also are manufactured exclusively in North America.
 Due in part to the development of exclusive North American models, Honda has become the second largest exporter of American-made automobiles. By the end of 1992, Honda will export more than 50,000 automobiles from North America to 18 countries. The Accord has been the best-selling U.S.-made export model since 1991.
 "We view this tenth anniversary of U.S. auto production not only as an achievement, but as inspiration for the future," said Tom Elliott, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "Customer satisfaction has always been an important part of our success. By continuing to listen to our customers, we are confident that we will continue to meet their needs over the next ten years."
 -0- 11/11/92
 /CONTACT: Jeff Leestma or Aki Kato, 313-567-7770, or Kurt Antonius or Bob Butorac, 310-783-3170, all of Honda/
 (HMC) CO: Honda Motor Co. ST: Ohio IN: AUT SU:


TS -- NY065 -- 9809 11/11/92 14:46 EST
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Date:Nov 11, 1992
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