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One Millionth Car Rolls Off Assembly Line; Hondas Arrive in Japan

April 8, 1988 GMT

MARYSVILLE, Ohio (AP) _ Honda celebrated two milestones Friday when its one millionth U.S.-produced car rolled off the assembly line and its first exported cars rolled onto a dock in Japan.

A Civic four-door sedan was driven off the assembly line at Honda of America Manufacturing’s auto plant in his central Ohio city, becoming the one millionth American-made car since Honda started building cars in the United States in November 1982.

Halfway around the world, a shipload of 540 Honda Accords built at the Marysville plant arrived in Tokyo, ending a monthlong journey that started on March 7 from Portland, Ore.

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The one millionth car was driven by Al Kinzer, who became Honda of America’s first employee when he was hired as manager of administration in 1978. Honda calls its employees associates.

″We owe our ability to produce 1 million cars in such a short period of time to the teamwork and efforts of our associates,″ said Kinzer, now vice president and plant manager of Honda’s engine plant in Anna in western Ohio. ″They have proven that Honda quality knows no geographical boundaries.″

The arrival of the Honda Accords signaled an end to a voyage that was interrupted when the ship’s ballast tank and fuel tank cracked during a storm in the northern Pacific Ocean on the third day at sea. It returned to Portland and left again on March 17.

In Tokyo, Honda spokesman Bret Anderson said the company does not have facilities in Japan to build the American-made coupe.

″It was built for the U.S. market. We see the car as an American car,″ he said.

Honda is the nation’s fourth-largest car company in sales and manufacturing. It began manufacturing in the United States in September 1979 with production at its motorcycle plant in Marysville.

Production at the Marysville auto plant began Nov. 1, 1982, with the Accord four-door sedan. The Civic four-door sedan was added to production on July 24, 1986.

Production of the engine for the Civic began at Anna on Sept. 23, 1986.

The company in February began construction for a new assembly plant near its Marysville operation. The new plant, called the East Liberty Auto Plant, is scheduled to begin production of Civic four-door sedans in August 1989.