30 May

According to Autoblog, Honda is selling a crazy amount of Civics lately because they get great gas mileage. By contrast, the hulking Ridgeline and new Pilot aren’t expected to sell quite as well.

Later this year, Honda is expected to add another 2,000 jobs as it begins to build Civics in Indiana, as well. That plant will be Honda’s seventh in North America. Honda has sold 34,163 units of the Civic in North America through April of this year, which is 8.2% more Civics sold on average per day than in 2007. For comparison’s sake, Toyota has sold 32,435 Corollas, Ford has sold 23,850 Foci and Chevy has sold 18,636 Cobalts so far this year.

By contrast, domestic automakers are pretty much caught off-guard by the sudden demand for fuel efficiency over body-on-rail behemoths.

In the article, Autoblog said that the switch from building Ridgeline/Civics would be “effortless”. The first commenter called bullshit,

Effortlessly? Do you work for Honda PR?

No, I’m quite sure there will be quite a bit of money and effort going into this

The responses pretty uniformly reply, yes effortlessly:

By pressing a switch the programs for the robots change, the track system gets narrower, the arms get closer and production changes from a Pilot to a Civic. Ive seen it done.

10 years ago a flex plant was one where two vehicles off of the same platform were built simultaneously, like a Camry or Avalon or Silverado and Tahoe. Now you can get completely unrelated in every possible way vehicles made on the same line.


About 10 years ago they began redesigning all of their assembly lines to be able to assemble any model that is currently in production, so that they can do exactly what the article discusses.

There are still logistics involved, but nothing like the wholesale re-configuration that would be required in a traditional older style plant.


So much for “Buy American”. Ford and GM are firing American workers, while Honda gives them jobs back. “Support America, buy Japanese” should be the new slogan.

You get the idea. There’s also an interesting discussion about legacy costs for US manufacturers versus merit pay employed by Japanese non-union shops.

One Response to “Innovation”

  1. Richard Strongbridge May 30, 2008 at 8:47 am #


    Date: May 30, 2008

    To: Ford and GM Company Execs


    I’m not a company insider but I can tell you I am way smarter than you guys, here’s a novel idea: Stop building gas guzzling vehicles.


    Joe Public

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