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Marysville Braces For Honda Production Cutback

One of Central Ohio's largest employers faces an uncertain spring. Honda of America is cutting production because of the effects of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. Honda's plants in Marysville have cut their production in half because they get critical parts from Japan. As trucks idle at the Marathon Pit Stop just north of Marysville, head cashier Rene Harney says she's already noticed a change in mood among some of her customers. "Some of them are a little quieter when they're coming in," she said. "So, yeah I'm sure they're worried just like we are, you know." Harney said half of her customers are either Honda workers or have jobs directly tied to Honda. "They stop in and buy their lunches on their way to work or to stop and pick up a pizza on their way home," she said. Don Woda fills up a styrofoam cup with hot soup. He runs a used car and car repair shop. He expects many of his customers will keep tight hold on their wallets in the coming months. "Business slowing down, because I'm just right down the street from Honda and it's a large portion of our business, is Honda employees," Woda said. Woda estimates 25 percent of his customers are Honda workers. At the gas pump, Peter Arbogast fills his Honda civic. He's on his way to his job at the local Honda dealership and he admits that the production slowdown is the talk of the showroom and shop. "Obviously alot of my friends and customers work out there and it could definitely impact things," Arbogast said. Honda maintains there is no immediate shortage of cars or trucks at its dealerships. But Arbogast said supply of new cars and trucks could remain an issue through the spring and early summer. "This is a short-term effect with the supply and then I think we'll see long-term effect on some of the Japanese built cars that we get in," Arbogast said. "They still have three or four models that are exclusively Japanese built. So in three months, we're going to feel that impact." While Honda dealers still have full showrooms, the production cuts have a more immediate impact elsewhere. Mike Roark of Dayton hauls parts from factories in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky to Honda assembly plants. "You know some of the other suppliers I haul to, I was in Kentucky yesterday and they were talking down there that Monday is really going to effect them. You know, lack of parts, different parts that we haul," Roark said. Honda has about 150 Ohio suppliers, including U-co based industries in Marysville. CEO Glenna Reed said her company makes owner manual kits for Honda. "Depending on what we see in the future as they adjust their hours, we will probably do the same accordingly," Reed said. Honda said it's uncertain when engine and electronic parts from Japan will again be available. The company said it will make every effort to keep its assembly plants operating, even at lower production levels.