Touring Ontario's Honda Canada Manufacturing plant

Honda Canada Manufacturing entrance
The Honda of Canada Mfg. plant produces all the Civic variants and the CR-V for the North American market. Photos by Benjamin Yong.

There are a lot of Hondas on the road in B.C. and beyond, including the best selling passenger car in the country, the Civic. But did you know Canada’s favourite sporty compact is built right on home soil in Alliston, Ontario?

Here are some other fast facts about Honda of Canada Mfg. (HCM), otherwise known as the Honda factory:

• Honda was the first Japanese automaker to open a Canadian manufacturing facility in 1986, where it produced the Honda Accord

• Twelve years later, the company set up a second facility to manufacture the Honda Odyssey full-size minivan

• In 2008, a third manufacturing facility opened its doors to build four-cylinder engines

• HCM employs more than 4,000 people, and has an annual output of 400,000 vehicles (1,700 per day) and 260,000 engines

 • It takes approximately 13 hours to assemble a vehicle from start to finish

Honda Canada Manufacturing factory floor

I learned a few of these tidbits during my tour of the facility earlier in the fall, when the ceremonial first redesigned 10th generation 2016 Honda Civic Sedan rolled out of production. Lisa, our guide, walked a group of journalists through the processes of building a Honda, which takes place over a long winding assembly line on the factory floor.

“It takes 13 hours from start to finish,” said our guide. “When the VIN [vehicle identification number] is attached to the body of the vehicle, that’s when it officially becomes a vehicle.”

Honda Canada Manufacturing 2016 Civic interior

While a lot of the work is completed by machine, for instance welding or painting, a surprising amount of labour is still completed by hand. We watched in fascination as workers, or manufacturing associates as they’re officially called, picked up trim pieces one-by-one off the moving conveyer belt and attached them to the dash.

Associates are split into separate “zones” and work in eight-hour shifts, sectioned into quarters. Throughout the day, they can swap positions and work in other areas within a specific zone in order to prevent injuries from performing repetitive tasks. For example, transitioning from wiring harness to glove box installs. 

Honda Canada Manufacturing first 2016 Civic

The cars, after being put together, are sent to a 1.7-kilometre long test track to evaluate for squeaks and rattles, wind noise, and that the brakes and alignment are all within proper specifications. Upon passing, 90 per cent leave the plant by rail, and 10 per cent by truck to dealerships.

For more information about Honda Canada Manufacturing, visit their website. More pictures:

Honda Canada Manufacturing 2016 Civic roof cutaway

Honda Canada manufacturing elevator

Honda Canada Manufacturing J.D. Power award

Honda Canada Manufacturing 2015 CR-V

Posted by Benjamin Yong

Benjamin Yong is a freelance journalist and communications professional living in Richmond, B.C. He is often found writing about cars and the auto industry, amongst other things, or driving around in his work-in-progress 1990 Mazda MX-5. Twitter: @b_yong Instagram: @popuplights