By Anita Rajan, General Director
Why do we celebrate milestones with such gusto? First birthdays, 10-year college reunions, 25th-wedding anniversaries, and retirement parties come to mind. The excitement and celebration may be filled with an appreciation for the journey that was taken, eager anticipation of the journey that lies ahead, or a healthy combination of both. As we release our 2023 Impact Report, celebration is in the air, with several JAMA members reaching landmark anniversaries! These programs, products, and initiatives have created legacies in communities across the U.S. Take a look below at some of our member companies’ recent milestones and the steps they’ve taken toward progress, as well as their enduring impact.
Honda kicked off Japanese automotive vehicle manufacturing in the U.S. in 1982 and is celebrating the 15th anniversary of vehicle production at its Greensburg, Indiana. This facility is Honda’s seventh North American automotive assembly plant. The company’s two top-selling U.S. models, the Honda Civic and CR-V are assembled here. Earlier this year, in more good news for the plant, Honda announced it would move production of another core model, the Honda Accord, from Marysville, Ohio to Greensburg in 2025. The move helps Honda supply its consumers with well-loved models, as it prepares for the creation of its North American electric vehicle production hub.
Nissan celebrates 40 years of vehicle manufacturing excellence at its Smyrna, Tennessee vehicle plant. Back in 1983, Datsun trucks inaugurated the assembly line, and now the LEAF, Maxima, Murano, Pathfinder, Rogue and Infiniti QX60 are all rolling off the assembly lines in Smyrna. This facility marks Nissan’s start in U.S. manufacturing, and also marks the first automotive manufacturing plant in Tennessee, which is now a strong and proud ‘auto state’. Additionally, Nissan’s Canton, Mississippi vehicle manufacturing plant is celebrating their 20-year anniversary! Similar to Nissan’s Smyrna facility, the Canton plant marks Mississippi’s first automotive manufacturing facility. Fast forward two decades, Nissan announced it will invest $500 million to transform the assembly plant into a “center for EV manufacturing and technology” by retraining and upskilling nearly 2,000 jobs in preparation for welcoming two new battery electric vehicle (BEV) models by 2025 as well as battery pack assembly operations. In addition to its manufacturing progress, Nissan’s Canton plant has contributed more than $20 million to local nonprofit organizations and donated 12,000 volunteer hours in local communities.
Toyota marks a “triple crown” year for anniversaries. First up is Toyota’s Georgetown, Kentucky plant marking 35 years of vehicle production. Toyota Georgetown is the company’s first and largest auto production facility in the U.S. In 2006, the company manufactured its first conventional hybrid electric vehicle model, the Camry hybrid, here, and this year assembly of fuel cell modules for use in hydrogen-powered, heavy-duty commercial trucks starts. Recently, Toyota announced that this facility will be the assembly site of an all-new, three-row, battery electric SUV starting in 2025. The next anniversary of note is 25 years of operation for Toyota’s Buffalo, West Virginia manufacturing plant. Since the start of operations, the plant has experienced eleven expansions. In North America, this is Toyota’s only combined engine and transmission plant and the only plant that produces hybrid transaxles. And finally, the third anniversary we are celebrating is 20 years since the start of engine production at Toyota’s Huntsville, Alabama plant. Within the last two decades, the plant has expanded seven times. In October 2021, Toyota unveiled a 142-yard engine production line, making it the longest line for Toyota in North America. During almost the entire two decades the plant has been in operation, the facility has donated $12 million to local nonprofits.
We honor these anniversaries as they are the culmination of Japanese-brand automakers’ partnership with American communities. The people that breathe life into an advanced manufacturing vision with an eye for progress in all that is undertaken have absolutely earned a standing ovation.
For more details on JAMA members’ economic impact in the U.S., and to truly understand the full story of how Japanese-brand automakers have not only made the U.S. their home, we invite you to read through our 2023 Impact Report. We are confident there will be parts that will make you smile, ask questions, and hopefully evoke a hometown cheer for all Americans whose lives have been touched by Japanese-brand automakers.