Honda Motor Co. is planning to invest $85 million to give its East Liberty site in Ohio the capability to build a fourth nameplate – the Acura MDX. The investment will result to the addition of new welding equipment, conveyors and other gear that will enable the plant to assemble the Acura MDX crossover starting early 2017.
The plant East Liberty currently builds the Honda CR-V crossover and Crosstour hatchback, and the Acura RDX crossover. Honda will still produce the MDX at its Lincoln plant in Alabama that also builds the Honda Pilot crossover, Ridgeline pickup and Odyssey minivan.
According to John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda, adding a second production site for the MDX will provide the Japanese carmaker flexibility as its expects truck sales to rise, adding that the company is bound to roll out a redesigned Pilot this year and a redesigned Ridgeline in 2016.
He remarked that the redesigned Pilot "will really raise the stakes” in the midsize SUV segment. He quipped that once the carmaker starts selling the Pilot and the MDX remains a strong seller, it would be in a position to hike output of both models to cater to growing demand.