AP NEWS

Honda launches new Talon side-by-side

January 16, 2019

TIMMONSVILLE, S.C. – It was an exciting day for Honda of South Carolina on Wednesday as the plant celebrated the start of mass production of the new Talon sport side-by-side.

The Talon should be ready for purchase this spring, said Gary Mabrey, president of Honda of South Carolina, through 1,000 dealers around the country.

Steve Smith, vice president HSC, the first to greet guests and employees, said a lot of hard work went into this project. He said a side-by-side of this magnitude has not been done before and it presented some real challenges.

He said it was more than a team effort. Because of the time involved in bringing this project to fruition, those who worked on the project have become more like family, he said.

A $45 million expansion, completed in 2018, made the project possible, Mabrey said. The expansion project added 250 new jobs and 115,000 square feet of space needed to accomplish the work.

Mabrey said one of the biggest challenges in seeing the project through was the simultaneous expansion of a new weld area, a new paint line and automated guided carriers.

The new paint line was needed to “enhance quality and color variations, along with new buildings and expansions to improve production efficiency,” the company said in a media advisory. “The plant also added automated guided carriers and lift assist devices to support quality, logistics, safety and ergonomic improvements for associates.”

HSC celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2018 of making all-terrain vehicles (ATV). It is the exclusive production source for Honda side-by-side vehicles.

“Over the last 20 years, Honda in South Carolina has evolved from a small ATV manufacturing plant, to a world-class team that can produce a complex model like the Honda Talon sport side-by-side,” Mabrey said. “This expansion and innovation was made possible through the efforts of the incredible team of associates who are dedicated to meeting the needs of our customers.”

“The Talon is truly a standout side-by-side vehicle and I’m proud that associates at Honda of South Carolina are part of its development as well as its future,” said Chuck Boderman, vice president of powersports division of American Honda. “The sport side-by-side market is showing significant growth and it’s exciting to have the new Honda Talon for our dealers and our customers.”

Honda has developed two versions of the Talon – the Honda Talon 1000X and 1000R. Pricing released by Honda for the $19,999 for the Talon 1000 X and $20,999 for the Talon 1000R.

Honda employees Pat Small and Jim Mudge had the honor of unveiling the Talon on Wednesday.

Mudge, a 20-year employee, said he was lucky to be chosen.

“I think it is terrific,” he said. “It is the best product out there.”

Both versions “highlight the skill and dedication of the engineers at Honda R&D Americas, Inc. in Raymond, Ohio, who developed the Honda Talon and the experienced workforce who build it at Honda of South Carolina Mfg.,” the company said.

“Aware that a single offering would be a compromise for some conditions and driving styles, each works across a broad array of conditions but specializes in a different area of the off-road spectrum. The two vehicles share a common frame and engine but have wheelbase and suspension configurations that are designed to shine in different applications. Both models function at a high level in a wide variety of terrain types, bringing a new level of control, style and refinement to a sport side-by-side market that is hungry for innovation, reliability and an improved driving experience.”