For the first time since the 1970s, much higher standards will be imposed.
Greg Burns - The Chicago Tribune
- Dec. 05, 2008
Smart choices by Honda that benefit American workers. -- Ed
Hundreds of newly hired auto workers stood by in immaculate white jumpsuits and green baseball caps. The governor of Indiana and the Japanese chief executive of Honda Motor Co. shared a stage lit up like a nightclub.
Then a Hoosier-made Civic rolled off the assembly line to mighty applause.
Less than three weeks ago, while the Detroit Three were begging a skeptical Congress for financial relief, Honda unveiled a new assembly plant in Greensburg, Ind. Anybody wondering who stands to gain from terrible conditions in the U.S. auto industry need only visit the small town near Indianapolis.
On Thursday, the domestic automakers continued their pleading for a government rescue, promising greater fuel efficiency and reduced production costs. Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli pledged to manufacture "fuel-efficient cars and trucks that people want to buy."
Honda is already there, and it's not stopping.
To Greensburg Mayor Gary Herbert, who had a front-row seat at the Nov. 17 plant opening, the implications for his community's newest major employer are obvious: "Because of the quality and the type of car they make, Honda will be rising."
During a long career in manufacturing, Herbert has worked for both American and Japanese automotive suppliers. He has held every union-local job up to president and worked in non-union shops such as Honda too. He drives a Buick, and his wife, a Honda Passport.
He's rooting for the domestic automakers as much as the Japanese, he said. Yet he knows he's not alone in anticipating that Detroit's pain will be Tokyo's gain.
Honda may benefit most, even more than larger Toyota with its diversified line of bigger vehicles. Honda's reputation for economical, fuel-efficient cars puts it at a big advantage. Yet much of its future will depend on how... [Read More]