Honda to slow production at Ohio plant by 6%

July 28, 1992|By New York Times News Service

DETROIT -- Rather than offer cash rebates to entice buyers, Honda of America Manufacturing Inc. will adjust to slower sales by trimming production at its two assembly plants in Ohio.

Honda said yesterday that it would maintain its no-layoff policy. The automaker will lower production by reducing the speed of assembly lines at plants in Marysville and East Liberty, Ohio, and by using several half-days to train workers rather than build cars.

Moreover, Honda said it was not planning to lose the distinction of producing the nation's best-selling car, the Accord. In a closely watched contest, the Ford Taurus is strongly challenging the Accord for the title.

"Momentum is building for second-half sales," said Jeff Leestma, a Honda spokesman in Detroit.

Through June, Honda had sold 191,684 Accords this year, while Ford had sold 181,189 Tauruses, leading some in the industry to predict that the Taurus might pass the Accord. Last year, the Accord was ahead of the Taurus by 57,000 through the first half.

Honda's Accord, the nation's best-selling model since 1989, has suffered slower sales this year, as have most cars. But on a relative basis, the Taurus has been gaining.

The 6.2 percent cutback in production of Accords and the smaller Civic model reflects, in part, stronger competition from Detroit. For instance, General Motors Corp.'s Saturn models, which compete with the Civic, have received favorable coverage for quality and their high ratings in customer-satisfaction surveys.

Moreover, some dealers contend that consumers have been saying they would like to be able to buy models from the Big Three as a way of helping the economy.

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