Feb 09, 2007

Honda Aircraft Company to Establish World Headquarters and Production Facility in Greensboro, NC

GREENSBORO, North Carolina, USA, Honda Aircraft Company, Inc., today announced plans to establish its world headquarters in Greensboro, North Carolina, with construction of a new 215,000 square foot headquarters facility and hangar at Piedmont Triad International (PTI) airport. The company also confirmed plans to manufacture its advanced light jet, HondaJet, at a new plant to be constructed adjacent to its new headquarters. Further details about the production facility, including the size, scope of operations and construction timetable, will be announced at a later date. Honda plans to begin delivery of HondaJet to customers in 2010.

Initial investment for construction of the new headquarters facility and hangar will be about $40 million, plus approximately $20 million for equipment, bringing the total initial investment to $60 million. Details of additional investment for the HondaJet manufacturing facility will be announced at a later date.

Total Honda Aircraft Company employment, including all engineering, sales and marketing, manufacturing and support activities, will increase to more than 300 associates by the time the manufacturing plant reaches full capacity.

"For five years, Greensboro has served as the home of HondaJet, as we have worked to take our dream from the drawing board to the sky," said Michimasa Fujino, president & CEO of Honda Aircraft Company, Inc. "As we move steadily toward certification, production and delivery to our customers, I am excited that Greensboro will be home both to our company’s world headquarters and the production of HondaJet."

Honda Aircraft Company’s new headquarters will serve as the home for all HondaJet research, product engineering, sales and marketing, and service support, and will replace the company’s existing 32,000 square foot hangar and office complex, also located at PTI airport. Construction of the new facility, to include a 147,000 square foot airplane hangar and approximately 68,000 square feet of office space, will begin immediately, and is scheduled to be completed in November of this year.

HondaJet employs a number of innovative new technologies and design features – including an all composite fuselage and a unique over-the-wing engine mount (OTWEM) configuration – to set new standards for performance, comfort and quality in the growing “light jet” segment of the market.

Honda’s first-ever commercial aircraft lives up to the company’s reputation for superior fuel efficiency, delivering 30-35 percent better cruising fuel efficiency than comparable jets, along with a class-topping cruise speed of 420 knots (450 mph) and a more spacious cabin with room for up to eight people. The customer base for HondaJet is composed of owner-pilots, corporate travel operators and air taxi companies. In November, Popular Science magazine selected HondaJet as the winner of the publication’s 2006 “Best of What’s New” award in the Aviation & Space category.

All major assembly and testing of the prototype HondaJet has been conducted at the company’s existing Greensboro facility, which opened in 2001 as an extension of Honda’s global R&D operations. The decision to commercialize HondaJet was announced in July 2006, followed by the establishment of Honda Aircraft Company, Inc. on August 4, 2006. The company has received well more than 100 customer orders for the $3.65 million HondaJet since its launch on October 17, 2006.

The HondaJet production facility will become Honda’s seventeenth major manufacturing plant in North America, including two currently under construction in Indiana and Ontario, Canada. Honda already has a major North Carolina manufacturing facility, near Swepsonville, producing general purpose engines, lawn mowers and other power equipment products. The $188 million facility, opened in 1984, employs 580 associates and has the capacity to produce 2 million engines and 380,000 lawn mowers annually.

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. was founded in Japan in 1948. Honda began operations in the U.S. in 1959 with the establishment of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., Honda’s first overseas subsidiary. Honda began U.S. production of motorcycles in 1979 and automobiles in 1982. The company has invested more than $8.5 billion in its North American operations, with employment of more than 33,000 associates and annual purchases of more than $16 billion in parts and materials from suppliers in North America. Nearly 80 percent of the Honda and Acura automobiles purchased by U.S. consumers in 2006 were manufactured¹ by Honda plants in North America.

¹ Honda products are produced using domestic and globally-sourced parts