History of Honda

June 9th, 2023 by


Becoming a household name!


With a history that dates back to the 1940s, Honda Motor has beginnings as interesting as its path to its current place at the top. With headquarters in Tokyo, the company, which began as a bicycle auxiliary engine manufacturer, went on to excel in the area of aircrafts, robots, sustainable energy, motorcycles and more. Today, Honda Motor Co. Limited is synonymous with the leading producer of motorcycles and automobiles around the world. Its history is marked by numerous “firsts” and with millions upon millions of vehicles sold. Here’s why!

A look back!


It was in 1948 that Honda Motor Co. Ltd. got its start in Japan, established by co-founders Soichiro Honda and Taken Fujisawa. Its beginnings were marked by the introduction in 1949 “Dream” D-type motorcycle, the first originally designed and engineered product presented by the automaker. About a decade later, on June 11, 1959 to be exact, the Honda Motor Co. came to the United States, establishing its first overseas subsidiary in Los Angeles, Calif.

The Civic’s roots!


Its first American car was sold in 1969, dubbed the Honda N600, releasing a few years later in 1974 a groundbreaking CVCC engine for the Honda Civic. This meant that the Civic would be the first vehicle to meet strict emissions standards linked to the new U.S. Clean Air Act with the use of a catalytic converter.

Introducing the Accord!


A humble hatchback, the Honda Accord made its debut in 1976, and to a great deal of fanfare! The initial model, followed by the 1979 Accord Sedan, has remained the best-selling passenger car in America, with more than 12.5 million purchased throughout its history.


In 1981 Honda began its first overseas production in Belgium.


Three years later and Honda would be synonymous with “giving back,” announcing in 1984 the American Honda Foundation, which went on to award more than $32 million in support of organizations located in the communities it served. This spanned areas across every state in the country.


Later in the 1980s, the company began research of compact aircraft and aircraft jet engines.

Hybrids/robots on the scene!


It was in the late 1990s that Honda presented hybrids, with the Insight marking unchartered territory as the first hybrid vehicle available in North America.


The numbers continued to rise, with upwards of 10 million cars rolling off the assembly line by 2001, with the automaker continuing to break new ground with Fuel Cell Technology in 2008. That came in the form of the FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle in 2009. This was the world’s first fuel cell sedan which had the ability to carry comfortably four occupants.


Millions more vehicles were sold, with the amount reaching 20 million by March, 2014, considered a milestone and proud moment for the automaker.

Wind Turbines — yes indeed!


It was also in 2014 that Honda made the introduction of wind turbines, with Honda Transmission Mfg. of America firing up this new endeavor in Russells Point, Ohio. This marked Honda as the first major automative manufacturing facility in the country to utilize a sustainable amount of its electricity from onsite wind turbines.


In other key developments, Honda returned to its racing roots in 2015, rejoining Formula 1 in partnership with McLaren, and the HondaJet deliveries began.

Type-R is born!


The high-performance Honda Civic Type-R comes to America, meeting a demand and a need of consumers.

A look at its overall segments!


Throughout its history, Honda has operated through various business segments, which include: Automobile, Acura autos Powersports, which are motorcycles, Power Equipment, Engines, Marine, HondaJet and Robotics.


Within the Automobile segment are cars, SUVs, crossovers, minivans, trucks and electrified vehicles. The Acura autos segment features luxury sedans and SUVs, while the Powersports brings to the market motorcycles, ATVs, scooters and SxS.


Power Equipment spans generators, lawn and robotic mowers, pumps, tillers, trimmers, snow blowers and more. Small engine models, manuals, parts and resources comprise the Engines segment, with outboard motors, parts, accessories, propellers and financing covered by the Marine segment. Jet aircrafts and jet engines fall under HondaJet, while research and development of a Humanoid Robot, as well as products aimed at personal mobility, stride management assist and bodyweight support assist falling under Robotics.

The BIGGEST and the MOST!


The automaker also boasts more than 215,000 employees, making it on the largest motorcycle and automobile manufacturer in the world. It is also the largest manufacturer in the world by volume of internal combustion engines. “Forbes” also dubs the Honda Motor Co. as the world’s Most Valuable Brands, one of the Most Regarded Companies and one of the Largest Public Cos. in the world. Since 1959, it has also been the top-selling motorcycle company in the world.

The numbers!


As the top seller of automobiles and motorcycles worldwide, the success is in the numbers, with net profit for Honda a record $1.78 billion in 1996. A year later, it surpassed Mitsubishi Motors Corp. to become the third leading automaker in Japan, and following that topped one million units for the first time in the United States.


Honda, which is undoubtedly a household name across the country and the world, has had its hand in numerous ventures, all leading to innovation and continued success. It has been a leader through the decades with automobile and motorcycle sales plus more and continues today with a reputation that is rooted in quality, dependability and innovation.

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