Will Intel's Ohio Chip Plants Fix Automotive Supply Chains?
Intel has announced a $20 billion investment to transform a 1,000-acre plot in New Albany, Ohio, into the latest addition to its U.S. chip-manufacturing hub. Construction is scheduled to commence later this year with operations starting in 2025. But everyone’s wondering if it is going to be enough to rectify the pathetic state in which domestic vehicle production currently finds itself.
Acura Introduces New Integra, Internet Explodes
Last night’s unveiling of the new Integra in L.A. wasn’t a surprise, given the number of teasers released by Acura over the last few weeks. There was a general consensus it would be a four-door hatchback of some ilk, and would very likely share many parts with other members of the House of Honda.
The 2023 Integra (technically a prototype but we all know that 99.9 percent of this vehicle will make production) did indeed appear as a four-door hatch – thankfully not as a tall-riding crossover – complete with a turbocharged engine and manual transmission. This didn’t stop keyboard warriors bleating from the depth of their parent’s basement that “ThIs Iz NoT a ReEl AcUrA” thanks to the 2023’s abundance of doors compared to the 3rd-gen coupe everyone remembers.
Here’s a newsflash for all those nimrods: The Integra has always been available with four doors.
Heavy Metal: GM Invests Millions in Ohio
General Motors seems bent on preparing some of its existing facilities as supporting players for future programs. The company has announced a $46 million investment in the metal stamping operation in Parma, Ohio, a town located about 20 minutes south of Cleveland that has nothing to do with the tasty cheese one puts on their pasta.
Calling Collect: Ohio Wants Its Money Back From GM
If you weren’t aware, the sprawling General Motors assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio is no longer cranking out Chevy Cruzes. No plant is. And there’s now a strange “Lordstown Motors” sign adorning the complex, with some sort of crazy promise about building electric pickups? Wild.
The state of Ohio certainly took notice, recalling the economic development agreement it signed with the plant’s former owner more than a decade ago. Those public perks were dependent on GM continuing operations at the plant until a point many years in the future. Fork it over, Ohio recently told GM.
Ohio Racetrack Plans to Defy Shelter-in-Place Orders
Commenters, rev up your typing fingers. This post is sure to stir debate.
Summit Motorsport in Ohio is planning to re-open soon, despite Ohio’s shelter-in-place orders.
The track’s season opener already didn’t take place due to shelter-in-place. Now, owner Bill Bader Jr. is taking to Facebook Live to talk about his defiance on video.
Ohio Self-driving Shuttle Service Stalled After Minor Incident
You may recall the autonomous Linen LEAP shuttle service that launched in Columbus, OH earlier this month. Well, the city placed the program on pause last week because someone fell during an abrupt stop. Smart Columbus, the group responsible for the service, has taken both EasyMile EZ10s off their route for assessment by the manufacturer.
Additional details kept us hip to how the program has done so far. According to local outlet WCMH-TV, the twin shuttles have moved 50 people around the Linden area since launching on February 5th. That averages out to a little more than three riders per day, which we don’t have to tell you isn’t great value for the money when the entire project costs millions. But that was never Smart Columbus’ plan. The intended goal was to connect a subset of carless residents in one neighborhood with essential services and other parts of the city.
That aspect of the scheme hasn’t gone seamlessly, either.
Autonomous Mass Transit Arrives in Ohio
Hoping to reconnect the South Linden neighborhood with the rest of Ohio’s capitol, the city of Columbus has launched an electric shuttle program funded primarily by the federal government. The municipality frames it as the first daily, public residential autonomous shuttle to be operated by an American city. While other U.S. towns exist that would definitely disagree with the claim, Columbus may be the first to run a self-driving shuttle seven days a week on the government’s dime.
Service began Wednesday, with the three-mile route open to all residents free of charge.
As the sole recipient of a $40 million USDOT grant tied to the Obama administration’s Smart City Challenge, Columbus opted to use EasyMile EZ10s for the project. They’re about what you’d expect — generic electric boxes with a small footprint and loads of headroom. The city received another $10 million from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, which acted for seed money for Smart Columbus’ Linden LEAP shuttle program.
Jeep Museum Allegedly Coming to Ohio in 2022
After years of trying, an urban revitalization group attempting to get Toledo, Ohio, back on track has gotten an affirmative nod from Fiat Chrysler to build an automotive museum devoted entirely to the Jeep brand. The 56,000 square-foot facility will be called “The Jeep Experience” and play host to numerous interactive exhibits.
Modeled after the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee and the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, the site has not yet been officially announced. Final negotiations are necessary before a contract is put in play. However, The Toledo Blade recently received confirmation from ProMedica President and CEO Randy Oostra, a member of the revitalization group, that there shouldn’t be anything standing in the way of the museum opening in 2022.
QOTD: The State of a Scarlet Letter?
Last week’s QOTD post about states and their respective license plates generated a few comments about a particular plate issued by the state of Ohio. In today’s question, we dive a little deeper and focus solely on this Ohio plate, which just happens to be more unique than every other license plate in use today.
Gaining Insight: Honda Begins Production of Hybrid Sedan, Challenging Market Awaits
The first-generation Honda Insight was a rare false-start for the company, marketed as a hatchback that had more doors than seats (three and two, respectively). Its atomic-egg styling enveloped a 67 horsepower 1.0-liter gasoline engine paired to a 10kW electric motor. The second-gen model, a more conventional car in terms of its styling and capacity, also fell a bit flat compared to the segment-leading Prius.
Honda’s betting the third time’s the charm, kicking off the mass production start of the all-new 2019 Honda Insight today at its plant in Indiana. Will this Insight electrify buyers or fizzle out? At first glance, it would at least appear they’ve got the styling right this time. Not everyone wants to shout that they’re driving a hybrid.
American Honda Believes Sales of the New Honda Accord Won't Fall, Sinks $267 Million Into Ohio Plant
American Honda’s vice president for sales, Ray Mikiciuk, won’t provide a firm forecast for sales of the 10th-generation Honda Accord. But as far as next year goes, “I don’t expect to sell fewer Accords in 2018 with this great new product,” Mikiciuk tells CNBC.
With belief in the company’s new product, Honda has invested $267 million into its Marysville, Ohio, plant where the Accord, Acura TLX, and Acura ILX are assembled. With 300 additional employees, American Honda is following the lead of Toyota’s all-new 2018 Camry.
At the Camry’s Georgetown, Kentucky, assembly plant, production of the new TNGA-based Camry required Toyota to build up its employee count to the highest level ever. That’s certainly not the way rivals are approaching America’s midsize segment. You’ll recall that General Motors cut Chevrolet Malibu production — and consequently, jobs — in Kansas City earlier this summer. Prior to the new Camry’s launch this summer, the Malibu was the freshest midsize sedan on the block, yet Malibu sales have plunged by more than a fifth in 2017.
Ohio production of the 2018 Honda Accord began yesterday, September 18th. But what do Honda’s vague sales forecasts mean in the broader American midsize segment?
More market share.
Acura MDX Production Moves North; Acura Is As Much of an Ohio Car Brand As Can Be
With production of the three-row Acura MDX joining the Acura RDX at American Honda’s East Liberty Auto Plant in East Liberty, Ohio, Acura has become a profoundly Buckeyed automobile brand.
Still stealing some production space at Honda’s Lincoln, Alabama assembly plant where the Honda Pilot, Honda Ridgeline, and 2018 Honda Odyssey are also built, production of the MDX has shifted to Ohio in order to free up capacity for both Honda’s and Acura’s top-selling model.
As a result of the MDX’s relocation, Acura now builds five of its six models in the state of Ohio.
And the one Acura that doesn’t hail from Ohio? That’d be the RLX, which forms less than 1 percent of the Acura brand’s volume.
Stagnating Sales Leads GM to Warn of Layoffs at Michigan SUV Plant
Automakers are seeing diminished interest in product as market demand levels off after years of post-recession growth. While some analysts are heralding an industry-wide doomsday, others have cited this as an inevitable market ebb with no cause for alarm. Either way, domestic and foreign automakers have begun scaling back production efforts.
In the United States, Ford recently announced layoffs at its Ohio truck plant and General Motors may be following suit by eliminating 1,100 employees at the Delta Township Assembly Plant near Lansing, Michigan.
GM’s newest U.S. factory was already scheduled undergo retooling for the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave crossovers. However, when the plant reopens this June, there’s a good chance that third-shift employees won’t be returning.
Acura Moving All MDX Production To Ohio; Maybe Now Honda Dealers Will Be Able To Stock Pilots
Throughout much of the third-generation Honda Pilot’s tenure, U.S. sales have not measured up to the success of the previous-generation model, though not for lack of demand.
In a market gone mad for SUVs and crossovers, three other vehicles have constrained production of the Pilot in Lincoln, Alabama. In addition to the Pilot, American Honda builds the Honda Odyssey in Lincoln, along with the Acura MDX. The second-generation Ridgeline started rolling off the Alabama line in May 2016.
As a result, Honda dealers have had a difficult time getting their hands on enough Pilots to sate the predictably high level of interest in a respected three-row crossover nameplate. Heading into December, for instance, Honda only had 36 days of Pilot supply according to Automotive News, about half the current industry average.
But with an all-new 2018 Odyssey about to pick up steam and the Ridgeline reaching a second-gen high of 4,085 sales in December, the Pilot needs room to breathe.
Columbus Wins Federal 'Smart City' Grant, Meaning More EVs in a State Without Much Green Power
Columbus, Ohio was chosen as the winner of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s “Smart City Challenge,” beating out six other mid-size cities for the $40 million federal grant.
With that grant and $100 million pledged from philanthropic and business sources on tap, the city’s plan will see improvements in social infrastructure and green, connected transportation — including greater electric vehicle use and new recharging infrastructure — despite the fact that Ohio’s power grid isn’t very green.