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Discussion Starter #1
Honda US released a press statement today regarding their response to COVID-19. Current plan is for all US production locations to remain open and active.
But I find it hard to believe that new vehicle purchases are top-of-mind for consumers in the current social/economic state. Cars aren't flying off the shelves like toilet paper and water. If Honda production continues as normal but consumption drops off, I think it will soon become a great time to get an aggressive deal when purchasing a new Insight...

The UK government has approached Honda's Swindon plant with request to produce ventilators instead. The Swindon plant produces the Civic in the UK but is slated to close in 2021.
 

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They are able to keep their people employed - which is a good thing if done responsibly.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I think Honda is also staying ramped up based on expected demand for the CR-V Hybrid, which is produced at the Greensburg, IN, plant, alongside the Insight. Will be interesting to see how it sells in the current economic climate, compared to Honda's original projections.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
In addition to extra cleaning procedures, my local dealership is implementing the following to manage risk and try to maintain sales:
  • Gloves available for all consumers and employees.
  • Valets are to change gloves before moving to a new vehicle
  • New/used sales negotiation "from the comfort of your own home"
  • At-home test drives
  • Pick-up and delivery of vehicles for service needs (extra price)
  • Payment by debit/credit only, rather than cash
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The article above mentions closure of "4 US Honda plants" - which seems to refer to Marysville, OH; East Liberty, OH; Greensburg, IN; and Lincoln, AL.

Here's the official press release from Honda today, which also lists closures in Canada and Mexico, plus other locations that produce Honda powertrains.
  • Production suspended for 6 days (3/23 to 3/31), reduces output by 40k cars.
  • Transmissions and engine plants suspended for same period.
  • Full pay continues for 27.6k employees during this suspension.
https://hondanews.com/en-US/releases/release-a16368f082a336a1dd1dc972d0002606
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hardship help is available thru Honda Financial Services: https://www.honda.com/covid19/COVID-19.pdf
  • Payment extensions, deferrals, and late fee waivers available via application/request process
  • 90-Day Deferred Payment on new vehicle sales for qualified customers
  • $1,000 Loyalty Assistance Cash for purchase or lease of a new Honda model
  • Special APRs offered for Certified Pre-owned Civics, Accords and CR-Vs bought 4/17 to 6/1/20
Transportation is categorized as an "essential need" so Honda service centers are also be open for repair or other service needs.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Here's the official press release from Honda today, which also lists closures in Canada and Mexico, plus other locations that produce Honda powertrains.
  • Production suspended for 6 days (3/23 to 3/31), reduces output by 40k cars.
  • Transmissions and engine plants suspended for same period.
  • Full pay continues for 27.6k employees during this suspension.
Honda's production downtime is now extended an extra production 5 days (15 calendar days total), with US start-ups now planned for 4/7 (versus 3/31). Primary reason mentioned for the extension are steep decline in market demand. Industry-wide, March sales are projected to be -36% versus same month last year.

Honda will provide full pay for some of the non-production days, and 'pull forward' vacation for other days. 29,400 US Honda production employees are affected in North America.

https://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/ford-pushes-factory-restart-unions-69808161

https://hondanews.com/en-US/honda-corporate/releases/release-9fd56ad587fc495a01a4adecd2001634
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Additional Honda downtime extension thru 4/10 (versus 4/7) for US and Canadian plants. Downtime at Honda Mexico plants (including Celaya, which produces a "critical engine part" for the Insight, plus the Fit and HR-V for US) is extended thru 4/13. - Statement Regarding Production Suspensions at Honda Plants in the U.S. and Canada

Honda is also providing community support, a "First Responder & Health Care Professional" $500 discount thru Honda Financial Services, and a new marketing campaign titled "the Power of Something Greater." - Support to Customers, Honda Associates, Business Partners and Local Community

 

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Discussion Starter #10
Honda is further extending production downtime, now thru 5/1/20. Stay-at-home orders thru end of April are preventing new car sales, and the further suspension is to bring production/inventory in line with the continued low market demand.

Given the 3/24 launch date for the 2021 Insight and the 3/23 start of this production downtime, I think it will be a loooong while before any 2021 Insights appear at dealerships.

https://hondanews.com/en-US/honda-corporate/releases/release-e109065114e2f98076798b7a4f0012c2
 

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During this period of unprecedented challenge related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Honda is working to support its customers, associates, and business partners throughout North America, and, just as critically, to assist communities throughout the region where people are suffering the devastating effects of this health crisis.
Following is a summary of the actions Honda has taken, thus far, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic regarding its customers, associates and business operations:
Support of Healthcare Providers
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): 10 Honda facilities in North America combined to donate over 200,000 items to healthcare providers and first responders, including gloves, face shields, N95 protective masks, alcohol wipes, half-mask respirators and other types of protective gear.
  • Honda associates at five different Honda facilities are using 3D printers to manufacture parts for face shields being donated to healthcare facilities and first responders.
  • Honda continues investigating the ability to meet critical manufacturing needs related to medical equipment such as compressors for ventilators, by partnering with other companies.
Community Support
Honda has initiated a significant and comprehensive new effort to harness the spirit of community in responding to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Honda has pledged $1.0 million to address the immediate needs of communities across the U.S., Canada and Mexico, providing the most vulnerable with access to food. The pledge is part of a range of efforts Honda is undertaking to support community and government actions aimed at helping people combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The donations to food bank and meal programs are being distributed to nonprofit organizations that address food insecurity across the region.
  • Building on the commitment of Honda associates to community volunteerism, Honda has initiated a COVID-19 Special Matching Gift Program that enables associates to make monetary donations to food programs in their local communities, matching up to $1,000 for each individual associate. The matching fund is in addition to our $1.0 million pledge to address food insecurity.
  • The Honda Center, a Honda-sponsored entertainment venue in Southern California, has been used as a social-distant distribution center by the Second Harvest Food Bank to distribute food to those in need in Orange County.
  • “Virtual Volunteers”: Honda is empowering Honda associates in North America to help people in need in their local communities while maintaining social distancing. Some of the activities include making non-medical grade masks for neighbors and the community, neighbor wellness checks and use of social media and other efforts that can be completed from home.
  • Honda has launched the #ThankaHealthCareHero social media campaign to encourage people to offer gratitude to doctors, nurses, paramedics, fire, police and other frontline professionals who place themselves at risk in support of the public's health and safety.
Customer Support
For our customers experiencing financial stress due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have established a number of emergency relief measures.
  • The Honda and Acura brands have offered to help customers who financed their vehicles through Honda Financial Services or Acura Financial Services with payment extensions and deferrals, as well as available late fee waivers.
  • 90 Days to First Payment Program: 90-day deferred payment is available to qualified customers for new vehicle sales that are financed by Honda and Acura Financial Services.*
  • Effective April 1, we're offering select and eligible first responders and healthcare professionals a $500 (Honda) or $750 (Acura) discount on new vehicles financed or leased through Honda Financial Services or Acura Financial Services.
  • To learn more about these and other programs, please visit our website at [Honda is Here To Help | Honda]
  • If a vehicle requires repair or maintenance, pending state and local government recognition of transportation as an essential need, a local Honda/Acura dealer service operation should be open and able to provide service.
Honda Associate Support
  • Honda's utmost concern is the health and wellbeing of our associates.
  • Honda has temporarily suspended production at all of our North American auto and powersports plants due to the decline in market demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Honda has utilized this time to continue deep cleaning of its production facilities and common areas to further protect associates upon their return to the plants.
  • Honda created a call center of Honda HR professionals to help associates navigate their benefits, income replacement opportunities and changes to 401(k) plan rules related to the CARES Act.
  • The vast majority of Honda associates are working remotely from home or place of residence. In-office activity is limited to essential activities.
  • For those essential associates working in Honda facilities, the company is taking additional steps to support social distancing and other health and safety guidelines. These measures may vary by location, but include staggering lunch times to reduce congestion in the cafeterias, limiting physical gathering, maintaining social distancing to the extent feasible, and adhering to the government recommendations for cleaning and disinfecting our sites based on CDC guidelines.
  • A new temporary paid personal leave of absence program is available for associates who are impacted by COVID-19 circumstances and not eligible for remote work. This leave of up to 14-calendar days (10 business days) is for associates who qualify under the following criteria:
    • Associates who cannot come to work due to being quarantined or a household member is quarantined; and/or
    • Associates who are experiencing childcare issues due to COVID-19 school or daycare closings for children 12 years old or younger, and dependents with special needs.
  • Associates who have COVID-19 or are being evaluated for COVID-19 are also entitled to this temporary paid personal leave of absence program to insure they are receiving full pay for the first 14 days of their illness (with disability leave available thereafter, if needed).
  • Travel restrictions:
    • Honda is prohibiting all international travel due to the latest advisories from the U.S. Department of State, with exceptions for critical need.
    • Honda is prohibiting all non-essential domestic travel within each country in North America.
  • Only business essential visitors are allowed to access each Honda facility with pre-approval from management.
Marketing/Social Media
  • Honda and Acura have adjusted marketing and social media efforts reflective of the challenges facing its customers.
  • Honda has a new marketing campaign that builds on the company's pledge to communities and customers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic by adding meaning to The Power of Dreams during these unprecedented times. Titled “The Power of Something Greater,” the new advertising and social media campaign focuses on how the strength of coming together as a community can help people get through challenging times, and emerge even stronger: honda.us/PowerofSomethingGreater.
  • The visual elements of the campaign focus on the core ways that Honda is dedicated to supporting those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes highlighting the support Honda is providing to the community in the form of contributions to food banks and meal programs, support for healthcare providers and the virtual volunteer efforts of Honda associates. The campaign also will be featured across social media, where Honda continues its focus on connecting the community.
  • Acura is reminding customers how the brand is here to help during these challenging times in a new television spot. View Acura's “Everything” spot here: acura.us/Everything
  • On social media, Acura is encouraging people to practice social distancing whenever possible through its #LessDriveMorePark campaign – suggesting to park vehicles except for essential travel, while offering useful information concerning driving during this unprecedented situation.
Due to the fast-changing nature of this situation, Honda will continue to provide updates on our business impacts and actions on Hondanews.com
 

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Discussion Starter #13
In Japan, Honda is remodeling minivans to transport covid patients to hospitals and quarantine facilities. The rear passenger section is sealed off from a separate positive-pressure drivers section, to ensure safety in transit.

The air conditioning systems are modified as one-way ventilation systems, with fresh air entering through the front (near base of windshield wipers), passing through to the rear passenger area through vents, then exiting through the back.
Honda will consider making more depending on demand.

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Discussion Starter #14
Honda is further extending production downtime, now thru 5/1/20. Stay-at-home orders thru end of April are preventing new car sales, and the further suspension is to bring production/inventory in line with the continued low market demand.
Another week added today, to further extend Honda auto production downtime to 5/8/20.

Demand/sales must be REALLY soft... including 10+ months of inventory left on 19/20 models, even before any 21 models have arrived from 3/24/20 launch date. We'll see in sales data for April that comes out in a couple weeks.

https://hondanews.com/en-US/honda-corporate/releases/release-cab753139a71d6210c0bc3ba0400444f
 

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Here's a picture of them building a Touring Insight after resuming production.

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Discussion Starter #17
Staffing shortages are leading Honda to put office workers on assembly lines. So... the next Honda you buy might have been made by an inexperienced accountant.

The Marysville plant is Honda's largest Ohio operations and as of July 2019, produces the Honda's Accord, Accord Hybrid, CR-V, and Acura's TLX and ILX for customers in 100+ countries around the world.

 

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Staffing shortages are leading Honda to put office workers on assembly lines. So... the next Honda you buy might have been made by an inexperienced accountant.

The Marysville plant is Honda's largest Ohio operations and as of July 2019, produces the Honda's Accord, Accord Hybrid, CR-V, and Acura's TLX and ILX for customers in 100+ countries around the world.

I bet they will regret doing this when they have to do a big recall in the future.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I bet they will regret doing this when they have to do a big recall in the future.
I think what's worse is it will take a while to show up. With sales still down but Honda cranking out more new cars, these cars will accumulate on dealer lots as inventory and may not get sold for some time. How/who built my car would constantly be on my mind every time something goes wrong with the car...
 

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Discussion Starter #20
General Motors is now the second domestic automaker after Honda to send administrative/salaried workers to the production line. GM put this in place at their plant in Wentzville, Missouri, which produces the Chevy Colorado, GMC Canyon truck, Chevy Express and GMC Savana. But unlike Honda, GM has union employees to contend with, and the United Auto Workers are calling this a violation of labor agreement.

 
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