ANNA — Last year was unusual in many ways for the team at Honda’s Anna Engine Plant (AEP). In the spring, the coronavirus paused production for many automakers. Upon returning, the Anna plant quickly adapted its operations to include face masks, temperature screening, social distancing and other pandemic protocol.
Despite these challenges, the team still launched several impressive engines in 2020.
In March, Honda Manufacturing of Indiana began building the CR-V Hybrid and the team at Anna delivered its 2.0-liter engine. The CR-V Hybrid is the most fuel-efficient, powerful model in the CR-V lineup and was named “Best New Car for 2020.”
Two Acura engines followed the Honda CR-V Hybrid launch, one for the 2021 Acura TLX (Marysville Auto Plant) in August and the other for the 2022 Acura MDX (East Liberty Auto Plant) in January. More new products are in the works for the Anna plant, as engines for the “Type S,” Acura’s new 3.0-liter V6 Turbo engine for both the Acura TLX and MDX, will roll out this year. Type S engines offer even higher performance with increased horsepower and torque.
With over 50 production lines covering casting, machining, heat treat, and assembly operations, Anna is the largest Honda engine plant in the world and one of the industry’s most vertically integrated. The facility supplies engines and powertrain components for Honda and Acura products made in Ohio, Indiana, Alabama, Canada, Mexico, and other locations across the globe.
Managing production and delivering high quality to such a varying, global customer base during the pandemic was no small feat. But together, the many talented associates at the plant rose to the challenges and came together as one team to support the company with the heart of the vehicle, the engine.
The challenges of 2020 did not dampen the giving spirit of the team at the plant. In fact, associates came together in new and creative ways to support our local communities.
Each fall, the Anna team provides a Manufacturing Day opportunity for area schools. The pandemic wouldn’t allow for the typical in-person tours and interaction at the plant, so the team developed Honda’s first-ever virtual manufacturing experience for students and teachers. Six area schools participated in live video meetings with activities designed to mirror the problem solving that takes place every day in the manufacturing setting. Ultimately, the goal is to promote the diverse and exciting careers in the manufacturing career path.
Anna Engine Plant associates have always been passionate about participating in blood drives for the Community Blood Center. Cumulatively, over the past five years, the plant has given 423 gallons to hospitals in the area from nearly 4,000 registered donors. The plant hosts up to eight blood drives a year.
Even before the pandemic hit, 10.5% of all U.S. households, experienced food insecurity at some point during 2019, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In November, the Anna plant delivered 536 donated food drive items to the Shelby County Agape Distribution Center to help those experiencing food insecurity during the holiday season.
Once again, this holiday season, Anna associates supported the Salvation Army through “Angel Tree” donations. Associates could select a paper angel from a tree, located in the plant and enjoy shopping for that person’s holiday items. Anna associates provided items to 342 individuals in our community.
Brendon Atha, an associate in the plant’s engine assembly department inspired his fellow co-workers with this social media post.
“Years ago, a group of Honda associates came and dropped off Christmas presents at my house for my family – my mother, brother, sister and I,” said Atha. “This one action by strangers helped shape who I am, and now I am a part of the Honda family. It does mean more than you think.”
Associates continued their giving, even in small ways, since the number one most requested item by community agencies is socks. The Anna plant collected and delivered 3,721 pairs of socks to seven local organizations in five local counties in the month of December.
“Our team came together to tackle the tough COVID-19 challenges in creative and aggressive ways,” said AEP General Manager, Rick Riggle. “Co- manager Kaz Ito and I are proud of each of them. We truly are one team.”
The Anna Engine Plant is the largest Honda engine plant in the world. It produces more than 1.18 million engines annually, in addition to various high precision components for Honda plants around the world. The 2.5 million square foot plant employs 3,000 associates, responsible for production of four cylinder, and V6 engines.