MARYSVILLE — Honda unveiled its 2018 Accord, Monday, following three years of planning, designing and major changes to the vehicle, including a new engine made at the Anna engine plant.
“The most challenging part of the project was inside of our weld department,” said Steve Rodriguez, manufacturing project leader for the Accord. Honda built a new $165 million weld department at Honda’s Marysville Auto Plant. “New inner-frame technology, new high-performance adhesive application and then the roof brazing process.”
The Marysville plant celebrated the model by announcing the new investments and jobs. The new model has added 300 jobs, 100 of which will be at the Anna plant, and Honda has invested a total of $267 million towards the production of the vehicle. Of the investment, $47 million is going to the Anna plant for the production of the 1.5-liter and 2-liter engines.
Engineers changed the car inside and out. The body is stamped using new techniques to produce more dramatic sculpting, the roof is laser brazed for increased strength and look, the body is sprayed with acoustic spray for a quieter cabin and the engine is the first turbocharged engine to be used in the Accord lineup.
Jim Mankin, engineering project leader for the 2018 engines, said the Anna plant acted as the “labratory” for Honda’s research and design team working on the 2018 Accord. There are three engines the Anna plant is producing for the new model: a 4-cylinder, 1.5-liter turbo engine; a 4-cylinder, 2-liter turbo engine; and a hybrid engine.
“It’s a much bigger cylinder head than we were used to,” he said. “Cycle time and our production characteristics were impacted, so we had to ramp up (production) a little earlier. We actually started building them right after the fourth of July weekend to get ready for this.”
Mankin explained the turbo engines are more efficient because they recycle exhaust gases to run hotter and therefore increase power. He also said Honda customers would be pleased with any of the three engine models.
“I can’t just pick one. I think the 1.5-liter matched with the automatic transmission is fun to drive. The step up the 2-liter with the new 10-speed transmission is even more fun to drive,” he said. “Ironically, we have a hybrid that actually has a sport mode and shift paddles. It’s also very fun to drive, for a hybrid.”
Rodriguez noted the 2-liter provides better torque than any car in the class. “It’s called downsize turbo,” he said. “The low-end torque is really great. It’s a fantastic ride.”
Honda provides over 4,300 jobs to the area, as noted by Sidney Mayor Mike Barhorst, who attended the launch event. He also noted that the smaller engine allows for more room on the interior, without changing the outside dimensions,
“We have a lot of people who work at Honda, and I think anytime you unveil a car that is as sharp-looking as this one, I can only imagine that sales will dramatically increase and help our city and our county move forward,” he said. “It’s very roomy, very comfortable.”
The Accord was the first vehicle from a Japanese automaker to be made in the U.S., and has been in Marysville since 1982. The new model is the 10th generation, and will go on sale next month. Pricing and fuel economy have not been announced yet.
“We’re really excited to build this car,” Rodriguez said. “We’re really excited for people to drive this car.”
Reach the writer at 937-538-4825.
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