Regional growth

Greensburg Honda plant
will have impact on Madison,
area officials say

By Konnie McCollum
Staff Writer

(March 2007) – In June 2006, the Honda Motor Co. announced that it would invest $550 million in a new plant in Greensburg, Ind. That plant will have an annual production capacity of 200,000 vehicles powered by fuel-efficient 4-cylinder engines.
Madison, Ind., is hoping to capitalize on some of the economic opportunities the plant will provide for the region.
The city recently purchased a 62-acre tract of land on the corner of Hutchinson Lane and Wilson Avenue. The Madison Redevelopment Commission gave the city $300,000 for the land, and $500,000 came from Argosy Casino, located in Lawrenceburg, Ind.
Madison Mayor Al Huntington said the new Madison Industrial Park puts the city in a good position to attract some of the suppliers to the new Honda plant.
Although the Greensburg plant is not expected to open until fall of 2008, site preparations have begun, and an announcement was made on Feb. 19 that Honda is beginning the hiring process.
The company is currently seeking non-production positions, and it will begin hiring production workers later this year. When completed, the plant will employ more than 2,000 workers.
All operations of a full-fledged auto assembly plant will take place in the Greensburg facility, including stamping, body welding, plastic injection molding, sub-assembly processes, painting and final assembly.
Melanie Maxwell, executive director of Greensburg-Decatur County Tourism office, said the coming Honda plant has already attracted more economic investment interest and growth in her county. Two new hotels and several new restaurants are already being planned. She also said the county expects a steady of influx of employees to fill the newly created jobs.
She believed Greensburg was chosen as the plant site because of its easy interstate highway accessibility and its close proximity to cities such as Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Louisville, Ky. The plant will sit on 1,700 acres adjacent to railroad lines and I-74.
Huntington said Honda is trying to watch where its suppliers locate because any time the suppliers are too close to the assembly plant, it drives up labor costs in that area. He explained that ideally, Tier I, or major parts suppliers, would be within a 50-mile range of the plant, while Tier 2 suppliers would be within an 80-mile radius.
With Madison being approximately 40 miles from Greensburg, that puts the city in the prime radius to attract Tier I suppliers. “We would love to get Tier I suppliers, but will certainly be happy with anything we can get,” he said.
In addition to the new 62-acre tract of industrial property, the city already owned a 40-acre tract across the street. Huntington said there is already activity going on with that adjacent property; however, he was not ready to make any kind of announcement about it yet.
Herb Parker, president of the Madison Redevelopment Corp., said there has been interest in the city from automotive suppliers since the announcement was made about the coming Greensburg plant. However, he said the city did not have the appropriate property to help guide that interest, so when the chance to buy the land became available, the city took it.
“We need to generate a tax base, increase industry and grow Madison. Unless we grow, we can’t have an industrial base,” said Parker. “Buying the land to get industries to locate here is a start to the cycle.”
Madison Precision Products makes internal and external engine parts for automobiles and is also hoping for additional growth because of the new Honda plant. Vice President David Sutherland said any time the number of vehicles produced in the United States increases, it helps his company sell engine parts.
“We do foresee a possibility that the new plant could need our products,” Sutherland said.
Currently, the engine parts maker is undergoing an expansion, but that is not related to the new Honda facility in Greensburg.

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