Honda orders office workers to build cars as COVID-19 stifles production

Production workers reportedly continue to call in sick amid the coronavirus pandemic, and that's left a shortage of workers at Honda's plants in Ohio.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
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Honda Accord production in Marysville, OH
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Honda Accord production in Marysville, OH

It sounds like quite a shift in work responsibilities.


Some of Honda's white collar workforce in Ohio are trading the desk for the assembly line, and that's an order.

According to WOSU public radio on Wednesday, the Japanese automaker's plant in Marysville, Ohio is subject to a production staff shortage amid the coronavirus pandemic. As more employees call in sick or quarantine, fewer workers remain to build the numerous vehicles that call Marysville home. The Honda Accord and Honda CR-V are two high profile models built in the Buckeye state. The Acura ILX, TLX and NSX also hail from Ohio.

The report says Honda first approached office workers asking for volunteers to leave their desk positions for the assembly line, but after few takers, the automaker made the policy mandatory. Employees from the purchasing, R&D and accounting departments are reportedly the three main departments Honda tapped for temporary work.

An employee speaking anonymously to WOSU said he's never seen "anything like it" during his five-year tenure with the automaker and told the outlet there's zero training until an office worker shows up on the factory line to start building cars.

Honda confirmed the practice but did not offer more specifics. In a statement, the automaker said, "Due to strong customer demand for our products and the need to carefully manage production during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are facing some temporary staffing issues that require support from associates who do not typically work in production. We have implemented such temporary measures in the past, and are working diligently to attract and hire associates to support our production needs."

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