These days, we take it for granted that foreign automakers build cars on American soil and that American automakers build cars in other countries; determining how “American” a given car is depends a lot on how you measure it.
Things were different back on Nov. 1, 1982, when Honda began producing Accords. This wasn’t the first time a foreign automaker had set up shop on our shores; Rolls-Royce, of all companies, built its high-end cars in Massachusetts from 1921 to 1931, and before that, Mercedes built cars here for a few brief years before WWI. Volkswagen had operated a plant in Westmoreland, Pennsylvania, since 1978. Honda itself had opened a motorcycle plant in Marysville, Ohio, in 1979.
But the Marysville auto plant was hugely significant. At the time, cars from Japanese automakers were seen as the ones to beat — and some felt that American management, and the American workforce, simply wasn’t up to the task. That high-quality American-built Honda Accords were rolling out of a facility in the Heartland seemed to demonstrate that that wasn’t the case. We wrote of the occasion:
“Every Honda Accord that rolls off the line at Marysville is a testimonial to the skill and dedication of the American worker, palpable evidence that given the right management, we Americans can build a damn fine automobile. The American-built Accord, like its Japanese counterpart, has seams that fit evenly, doors that close soundly, controls that work smoothly and an overall aura of quality that's rare in most other compact cars built in this country.”
Today, the Marysville plant still builds Accords, along with CR-Vs, the Acura NSX and more. You can read more about its earliest days, as well as a drive review of the proudly American-built, $8,345 1983 Honda Accord, in the excerpt of the March 21, 1983, issue of Autoweek below.
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