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Honda celebrates 20 years of mower production in Australia

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What started out as a small operation to provide local product for the unique Australian market, has now become a burgeoning international operation for Honda Manufacturing Australia (HMA).

With its 20th birthday just passed, the Melbourne-based business now produces 10 mower models and nearly 40,000 units per year. It also turns out five different brushcutters models and employs up to 30 staff over two shifts.

From the early days when HMA produced only one model and around 65 units per day, workers are now manufacturing as many as 340 units per day, depending on demand.

"It's been very rewarding to see the business grow," said HMA Manager, Doug Brown, who is one of the few staff who have been with Honda since the birth of the business.

"One of our early goals was to grow an export business, and that has been very successful.

"We now send product to countries such as New Zealand, South Africa, Egypt, India, the Middle East, the South Pacific and parts of Asia."

HMA also supplies Honda's national network of nearly 500 power equipment Dealers in Australia, and even with perennial drought conditions, have found that demand for the product has not faltered

"Honda is at the higher end of the market in terms of quality, so although we may not have the biggest chunk of the pie in this country, we certainly have very dedicated domestic and commercial customers who know they are getting the most reliable, environmentally friendly products available today," Mr Brown said.

"What is rewarding about working at HMA is being able to accomplish something at the end of each day and know that you can be proud of what you are manufacturing."

HMA celebrated production of its 400,000th lawnmower, a Buffalo Classic, at the end of 2006.

According to Honda Power Equipment general manager, Steve Missen, the success of the lawnmower range is due to the company's commitment to innovation and its focus on making environmentally sound products.

"Honda has an outstanding reputation for developing and producing technologically advanced products," he said.

"Our advanced four-stroke technology offers lower noise and exhaust emissions while maintaining strong power and torque characteristics.

"A further advantage of Honda's four-stroke power equipment is reduced fuel consumption, and although much of our continued success is due to our products' suitability for demanding commercial applications, the range is equally at home in the suburban backyard."Our export success also goes to show that it is possible for Australia to produce top quality products and compete on the global stage," Missen added.

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