Honda will move some operations from Torrance to Ohio, including less than 50 local employees, as part of its effort to consolidate functions of its North American unit, the Japanese car company said Friday.
The headquarters for Honda North America will move from Torrance to Honda's Marysville, Ohio, campus. Honda North America, also known as HNA, coordinates administrative operations, including legal services and corporate audit and risk management, among the company's regional operations in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
American Honda Motor Co., the automaker's headquarters for the U.S. market, will remain in Torrance.
American Honda, which employs about 2,500 people locally, "is going to maintain a robust presence in Torrance," Smith said. "American Honda is here in Torrance to stay. No question about it."
American Honda handles auto and motorcycle sales, dealer relations, marketing, distribution, parts and service, technical support, customer service and import and export.
With the move, HNA's role will expand by including several senior executives for strategic oversight over North American sales, manufacturing as well as research and development for the company's product lines. HNA will maintain an office in Torrance.
The move and expanded role will be effective April 1.
"What we're going to do is expand the role of HNA and put our senior executive management group under one roof, and then move that roof to Ohio," said Jeffrey Smith, assistant vice president at American Honda Motor Co.
HNA has been based in Torrance since 1987.
Torrance Mayor Frank Scotto said he was pleased that the move is limited to less than 50 local employees.
"We work constantly to not only retain but also to attract businesses to Torrance," Scotto said. "We understand that having good businesses in Torrance helps the quality of life because people are able to get good jobs, a critical element in a community. We believe Honda and Toyota and all the other major employers in the city are great corporate sponsors for everything that goes on in the city and we appreciate them being here."
Honda also announced Friday that it will establish a new company called Honda North America Services, to be located with HNA in Marysville. The new entity will coordinate such administrative services as human resources and finance. That change will also be effective April 1.
The most notable official who will move from Torrance to Ohio is Tetsuo Iwamura, who is the No. 2 executive for Honda worldwide. However, Iwamura will keep an office in Torrance.
"These organizational changes will improve the speed of decision making and the efficiency of our business operations," Iwamura said in a statement.
Iwamura serves as president of Honda North America and president and CEO of American Honda Motor Co.
Honda chose Ohio to consolidate operations because that state contains the company's largest North American manufacturing plant as well as product development operations, Smith said.
"It's a very significant operation for North America, so it makes sense to have our leadership team and our shared services company located at the center of operations," Smith said.
The changes announced Friday are part of a strategy Honda outlined last year to increase the role of the company's North American operations within the automaker's global business.
Honda is the second car company this month to announce a move from Torrance. In early February, General Motors said it will relocate its Torrance engineering plant, dedicated to technologies for alternative-fuel vehicles, to Michigan as part of a consolidation to become more efficient.
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