Honda, the Transportation Research Center (TRC), and Ohio State
In 1986, as Honda was evaluating sites for a second auto plant and a local R&D center for product development, the State began conversations with Honda regarding the potential purchase of TRC and surrounding property. The acquisition of TRC would be an integral part of Honda’s 5-part strategy to establish a self-reliant motor vehicle company with resources to compete in the world market. The strategy included the second auto plant in East Liberty, Ohio, a new R&D center in neighboring Raymond, increased local purchasing and production engineering and the beginning of automobile exports. The land surrounding TRC became home to many of these operations.
Honda of America Mfg. purchased TRC from the State of Ohio in January 1988 for $31 million. The Ohio State University was a major beneficiary, as $6M of the sale went to the College of Engineering at to establish a transportation research endowment (TREP) fund. Thus began the partnership between Honda and The Ohio State University.
The partnership was formalized by a Memorandum of Understanding, dated October 12, 2000. Since that time, it has matured and senior representatives from Honda and the University engaged in discussions to consider a new business model for TRC Inc. and to concurrently renew and strengthen the overall Honda - Ohio State partnership.
In December 2015, Honda and Ohio State created a new Memorandum of Understanding to reaffirm their mutual commitment to strengthen the partnership and to create greater value and impact for each party. A key element of this commitment is the development of a new business model for the TRC and new innovation business practices, facilities and capabilities of TRC Inc. that can better support the future needs of Honda, Ohio State, and the mobility industry.