Honda Makes Town's Day with Plant Promise

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After months of lobbying, cajoling and hoping, a small Indiana town has the prize it longed for: a promise from Honda to build its newest auto plant there. Greensburg, Ind., beat out at least seven other Midwestern towns for the facility. Today, Honda made its announcement.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

From NPR News this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED; I'm Melissa Block.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

And I'm Michele Norris.

On Monday we brought you the story of Greensburg, Indiana, a small town that was hoping Honda would choose it to locate its newest auto plant. Seven other Midwestern towns were in the running. Well, today Honda made its pick and the winner is Greensburg.

NPR's Adam Davidson has the story.

ADAM DAVIDSON reporting:

Rumors started flying yesterday when a group of Honda executives came to town, but the official announcement came this morning from the president of American Honda, Koichi Kondo.

Mr. KOICHI KONDO (Honda Motors): Today I am happy to be able to say Honda and Indiana, start your engines. Thank you.

(Soundbite of applause)

DAVIDSON: Kondo made many references to car racing in his announcement. Greensburg is less than an hour from Indianapolis and its famous motor speedway. The new half billion dollar plant is expected to transform Greensburg and surround Decatur County.

It will employ more than 2,000 people and bring several thousand more jobs over the coming years. Decatur County's entire population is around 25,000. It suffers from higher than usual unemployment and has lost several factories recently. Greensburg mayor Frank Manus.

Mr. FRANK MANUS (Mayor of Greensburg, Illinois): Having Honda come into Greensburg is probably one of the wildest dreams that I ever had. I tell you what, I'm almost lost for words and that's not like myself.

DAVIDSON: Honda's decision is good news for the entire Midwest. Lately, foreign automakers such as Honda, Toyota, and Nissan have placed new factories in Southern states, where labor costs tend to be cheaper. Northern rust belt states have lost a lot of auto jobs, especially at General Motors and its suppliers. The new Honda plant will support jobs at auto suppliers throughout the Great Lakes Region. The plant is scheduled to open in 2008.

Adam Davidson, NPR News.

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