By Kathy Fox, Urbana Daily Citizen, firstname.lastname@example.org
Representatives of Parker Trutec, on Upper Valley Pike, and Rosewood Machine & Tool Co., on Kiser Lake Road, said Honda’s plan to idle a second-shift production line at the Marysville assembly plant, as it slows production of Accords, may have little impact on their businesses.
Honda has said buyers’ interest in SUVs and small trucks is rising and interest in small cars is declining, hence the slowdown of the production line, which is to begin in August and may last a few years.
“The impact depends on the duration,” said Jeff Helman, a vice president of the Rosewood business.
Both local businesses manufacture products for Honda, but not only for its Accord line, and both businesses manufacture products for customers besides Honda.
“We do a lot of service parts for Honda not tied in with production lines,” said Brian Beatty, Parker Trutec plant manager. “We are unclear at this point,” he said of potential impact to his plant. “We need to research to see about the impact.”
He added, “Business is good otherwise.”
Beatty said he expects any impact to be minor for the plant, which has about 180 workers.
About 95% of Parker Trutec’s business is automotive, with orders coming from Honda as well as other vehicle manufacturers. “It can have an impact, but it’s not unprecedented,” Helman said. “They make these kinds of adjustments from time to time … “It’s no secret Accord sales are down … the public wants these little crossover SUVs.
“Honda’s been adept at changing tooling,” he added. “Their lines are designed to change to other models.”
He said the Rosewood business is a Honda supplier for tooling and equipment. “We make parts to make the cars.
“Honda’s been a very good customer, a good partner for us,” Helman said, adding that the local business manufactures products for Honda facilities besides its Marysville plant, as well as for businesses other than the automotive industry.
“Our objective has always been to be diversified,” he said, adding the company, which employs about 40 people, manufactures products for various types of customers, including those in the HVAC and food-processing industries.
“Honda has a huge impact on this area of the state,” Helman said. Noting that companies across the state manufacture products for Honda, he said it could take time for any impact to materialize.
“It’s not time to panic. It’s time to adjust to changes in the market,” he said, adding he thinks Honda has such a plan.
Honda has said there will be no layoffs, although voluntary buyouts will be offered.
Helman said if jobs are affected, people will find a “positive job market.”
“We’re all dealing with people shortages,” he said. “There are jobs out there. If we could find the right people, we could use a couple people.”
Although messages left at Honda supplier KTH Parts Industries Inc. were not returned, a June 2016 article in the Daily Citizen quotes a KTH spokesperson as noting consumers’ growing interest in SUVs over smaller vehicles and saying KTH, located on state Route 235, was making changes to adjust to this shift in interest.
Kathy Fox can be reached at 937-652-1331, ext. 1773.