CR-V North American Project Leader, Honda of Canada
Global production of the sixth-generation Honda CR-V began at Honda of Canada Mfg.’s (HCM) campus in Alliston, Ont., in September, followed by assembly of the first hybrid version of the popular crossover in early November.
Jeff Hansen, the CR-V engineering project leader for North America, was among the driving forces who made sure the automaker hit both milestones.
“It was a lot of coordination for about five years,” said Hansen, 54, pointing to ongoing collaboration between Honda plants in Ontario, Indiana, Ohio and Japan.
Based at HCM, Hansen served as factory lead for the previous generation of the CR-V, and was chosen to lead the North American team on the redesign for the 2023 model year.
Hansen said the higher weight of the new hybrid compared with the gasoline version was one key area of focus.
“We had to make sure that every component in the assembly line that’s going to have the higher load was capable, so structurally-wise, engineering-wise, and safety-wise.”
The engineering team also needed to carve out subassembly space where the hybrid’s battery and associated electrical components could be put together, and make changes in the welding shop.
Part of a $1.4-billion investment at Honda’s Alliston campus, the retooling work was a delicate balancing act carried out as the previous generation of CR-Vs continued to roll off the line.