There was a different kind of race to the finish at this year’s Honda Indy Grand Prix as associates from Honda Manufacturing of Alabama assembled a 2019 Honda Passport SUV, live, on stage at the Honda Gear Up Your Career Tent.
For the first time ever, an Alabama automaker brought the factory floor from the confines of a manufacturing facility to a public venue.
Racing enthusiasts, students and community members were able to watch Honda associates build an actual Passport from its unibody frame to a completed, road-ready sport utility vehicle – all while trackside at the globally broadcast IndyCar race.
“The Honda Factory Pop-Up brings to life our company slogan of ‘The Power of Dreams,’” said HMA Senior Vice President Mike Oatridge. “Honda wants to show students, teachers, parents and the community that a career in auto manufacturing is challenging, exciting and incredibly rewarding.”
The Honda Factory Pop-Up began on Friday, April 5, as the tent welcomed more than 2,000 students from area schools in for a close-up look at the manufacturing process. The Passport build continued Saturday and Sunday in the Fan Zone, and the final pieces went on just before the Honda Indy Grand Prix green flag waved Sunday afternoon.
Throughout the three-day-build, race fans were able to interact with Honda associates as they install more than 2,000 hundreds of parts including carpet, seats, the instrument panel, the hood, tailgate and four doors.
Some assembly was pre-staged at HMA to ensure safety and quality. The body had already been through Weld and Paint before leaving the facility and the 3.5 liter V6 engine and 9-speed automatic transmission was already installed.
In addition to the vehicle assembly, guests were also able to watch as a bare engine block be was assembled to a full engine in just 40 minutes.
“The manufacturing jobs we have today are high tech, clean, safe jobs and we’re going to showcase that to help get people interested and excited in manufacturing,” Oatridge said. “We’re celebrating building cars in Alabama and everything we do in Lincoln with our associates.”