Our View: Honda expansion is a good sign for the area
The good news keeps on coming from Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, with last week’s approval by the Talladega County Commission of a 10-year tax abatement for a $48.4 million expansion.

Reports indicate another 20 jobs will be opening up as the plant begins manufacturing the heads for the V-6 engines produced in Lincoln, and plans also call for the beginning of production of direct fuel injection engines at the plant. That is designed to increase fuel efficiency, which will be better for the environment, better for Honda owners, and will help keep the company’s vehicles competitive in years to come.

Alabama is in competition with other states to bring in job-producing businesses, and to help them expand. Tax abatements are part of the package; non-education sales and use taxes and property taxes can be waived for a specified period of time to encourage businesses to locate or expand here.

In a state badly hurt by the loss of its textile industry, it’s been encouraging to see the creation of a strong automotive industrial base in the state.

Honda Manufacturing of Alabama is by far the largest employer in the county, with a Talladega County Economic Development Authority estimate of 4,500 employees. HMA draws most of its workforce from a five county area, with 22 percent from Talladega County, 13 percent from St. Clair, 23 percent from Calhoun, 20 percent from Etowah and 14 percent from Jefferson. Those numbers don’t include other auto industry suppliers, and their numbers also keep growing.

HMA recently added the Acura MDX to its production line, where it is also the sole producer of Odyssey minivans, Pilot SUVs and Ridgeline pickups. Honda’s reputation for quality reflects on its workforce, each vehicle that rolls off the assembly line is a testament to the ability of Alabamians to produce world-class products

The continued development and expansion at Honda are good economic signs for the future of this part of the state.

© 2013