The Honda Motor Company is well-known all over the world. The Japanese automaker was able to gain worldwide recognition, with the Honda motors and vehicles becoming prized possessions for many individuals.
But despite everyone knowing the name “Honda”, not all people know the history of the company. Who founded it? When was the firm established? What is the full range of products?
If you want to purchase any products such as Honda motors or vehicles, perhaps you want to learn more about the brand and its history. Well, this post will tell you everything you need to know about Honda’s establishment, development, and more.
Early Honda Motor Years
The man behind the company is Soichiro Honda. He is known to have some amazing mechanical engineering achievements, almost to the same level as those of Henry Ford. Soichiro Honda has been doing his best to cast a perfect piston ring while he was working in his Japanese machine shop back in 1938.
The name of his company was Tōkai Seiki, and he founded it to be able to make piston rings from the Art Shokai garage.
In the end, he was successful. So, he wanted to sell it to Toyota, but they didn’t accept his first batch. They only made a large order two years later.
However, Honda had a hard time with the production because it didn’t have enough cement as Japan was getting ready for the war. He had no choice but to make cement by himself and build a new factory for piston ring production.
During the war, the Tōkai Seiki Yamashita plant was destroyed, while the Itawa plant fell due to the Mikawa earthquake. Honda sold what was still salvageable and used the money to establish the Honda Technical Research Institute.
Later, in 1949, the Honda Technical Research Institute was liquidated, and the money was used to establish Honda Motor Co Ltd.
Then Honda started working with Takeo Fujisawa. The investor was able to help the new company with capital, but also marketing and financial strategies.
The Honda Motor Company grew in the 1950s, especially as they introduced their first motorcycle in Japan.
The co-founders Soichiro Honda and Takeo Fujisawa had different priorities. Fujisawa cared more about the easier financing access and increased sales brought by the innovation of engines, whereas Honda was excited to pursue motorcycle races.
At the end of the 1950s, Honda was able to win all of the big motorcycle sports racing prizes out there.
Fujisawa later had Honda focus on other things besides the production racing motorcycles, such as developing more efficient engines. Not only that, but he also advised Honda to develop a motorcycle design that could be driven using one hand, so riders could carry packages.
The company’s sales exploded when they introduced the Honda 50cc Super Cub.
Expanding Into the United States
After being so successful in Japan with the Honda motorcycles, the Japanese manufacturer started looking towards expansion. The Honda Motor Company Ltd could definitely get big in other geographical locations.
This is how they started focusing on the U.S. Before the 1960s, the U.S. public saw motorcycle riders as people who were causing trouble. However, Honda Motor Co Ltd wanted to change this perspective, and they were successful.
They established the American Honda Motor Company, Inc. in 1959. Honda introduced smaller, more lightweight motorcycles to the American public and it surpassed its competitors.
It also started producing cars and trucks in 1967. Moreover, the Honda engineers worked on things like power tillers, portable generators, pumps, lawnmowers, and outboard motors.
Honda also introduced two small passenger cars, but they were not as successful. Then, in 1973, they introduced the model known as Honda Civic, which is what truly made Honda stand out in the automobile manufacturing market.
In 1976, after the Honda Civic exceeded one million in sales, Honda introduced the Accord, which was a pricier model. Both Japan and the U.S. loved the Accord.
The year 1984 also saw Honda open Honda Power Equipment Mfg, which brought walk-behind lawnmowers to the public.
In 1986, Honda launches Acura, which is the first Japanese automaker luxury nameplate. It had 60 U.S. Acura dealers in the beginning, and this allowed Acura to get no less than four JD Power and Associates Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) awards.
Problems in the Early 1990s
Honda kept being successful in the early 1990s for a while, as their motorcycles and cars were definitely outstanding. But not everything lasts forever, and Honda stumbled upon some problems after a while.
The competition was strong, especially as the sales of Toyota and Ford models were growing. Meanwhile, the sales of Honda models started dropping considerably.
Honda tried to handle this. They started adding more Americans into the company’s management and came up with new models, but with the car industry being saturated in the entire world, the market was competitive for everyone.
The End of the Century and Moving Forward
Honda didn’t give up. They introduced the first gasoline-powered vehicle in 1995 to meet the standards of the Ultra Low Emission Vehicle. Also, they created a new 360-degree universally inclinable ultra-small four-stroke engine while working on other products with low emissions.
As the century reached the end, Honda was still doing great, despite having some weaknesses. They started relying on their U.S. sales more, and they became one of the best car companies worldwide.
In 2014, Honda Transmission Mfg became a thing, and it is the first automotive manufacturing U.S. facility that used onside wind turbines to get a large amount of electricity.
Popular Honda Products
Honda introduced many high-quality products over the years, such as:
The motorcycles made Honda popular in the beginning. They sold millions of motorcycles all over the world. One of the most known models is the Honda Super Cub.
The Honda NSX has always been the topline supercar model for Honda.
Honda power equipment is very popular too. Some of the equipment they produced includes mowers, engines, cultivators, lawnmowers, sprayers, pumps, onboard engines, and hedge trimmers.
Both utility and sports ATVs are built by Honda, including models like Rubicon, Rincon, Recon, TRX 250X, and TRX 700.
A few robots were made by Honda too, such as the ASIMO robot.
Honda also developed several engines, like the GY6 engine and V8 engines.
Mountain bikes are also part of Honda’s portfolio. They build the downhill racing bicycle called Honda RN-01.
The Honda Aircraft company manufactured the HA-420 HondaJet, which has increased fuel efficiency and aerodynamics.
Honda was the first Japanese automaker to make vehicles in North America, but it is also one of the world’s largest car and motorcycle manufacturers. They are known for their fuel-efficient cars, as well as their racing vehicles and more. Honda products are and will always be appreciated, and they are here to stay.