A worker inspects cars on the line in the welding department at the Honda plant in Marysville, Ohio.
Maddie McGarvey for CNN

Inside Honda's historic car plant in the US

Updated 7:58 PM ET, Thu June 27, 2019

A worker inspects cars on the line in the welding department at the Honda plant in Marysville, Ohio.
Maddie McGarvey for CNN

In 1979, Japanese automotive manufacturer Honda made history.

They hired 55 Americans and 11 Japanese workers for their first-ever motorcycle plant on US soil, expanding to build a car plant in 1982.

Honda chose rural Marysville, Ohio, just a three-hour drive but a world away from the gritty, industrial US motor heartland of Detroit.

Marysville had little in the way of large manufacturing. It was fertile ground for the plans of the then Ohio governor to bring foreign car makers that could bring jobs and progress.

Since then, Japanese automakers have become deeply embedded in the US economy.

In the past four decades, Japanese car companies have invested roughly $51 billion across 28 US states. Last year, they employed some 1.6 million Americans through an ecosystem of satellite industries, according to the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA). Of all the vehicles made using American auto parts, Honda accounts for six of the top ten "most American" cars, according to auto sales website Cars.com.

Marysville, once a quaint town with one high school, one Dairy Queen and a drive-through restaurant, has grown to have a population of more than 24,000 people in 2019 compared to about 7,000 in 1980.

Honda now counts more than 15,000 associates and over 134 suppliers across Ohio.