Honda Motor Company has been in business for decades and has built itself into one of the most successful automotive companies in the world. With several enterprises beyond just vehicles, Honda values being innovative and ahead of the pack when it comes to product development. Such attributes have ensured that Honda holds its place in the automotive world as a record-setting corporation with deep roots in resiliency arising from the original founder, Soichiro Honda. We hope this list of facts about Honda entices you to think differently about the vehicles you see next time you visit a used Honda dealer.
#1 – Future Thinking
Think Honda has a good ten-year business plan? It’s a lot more than ten years to 2088, a year Honda has marked as an inspiration to its designers to dream about what the future of transportation will look like. Such aspirations are the norm for Honda rather than the exception.
#2 – Cutting Emissions
Even though Honda is a manufacturer of gas-powered vehicles, the company has pledged to have a net-zero CO2 supply chain by the date 2050. Honda calls it “ensuring blue skies for our children,” and part of the plan will be accomplished by shifting three-quarters of its lineup to some form of EV by 2030. This is not a new slogan for Honda either: it was born in 1974 when Honda engineered the new CVCC engine for the stricter air quality standards in the US at that time.
#3 – Honda Takes Flight
Honda builds jets! The Honda aircraft business was started in 2006, and most of the jets built by Honda are for private owners. One of Honda’s jets, called the HondaJet Elite S, has a cruising speed of 422 knots, which translates into 485 mph. In 2016, Honda set speed records with its jets flying between Florida and the Northeast US on two separate courses.
#4 – Wind-Powered
In 2014, Honda reported that it began using wind turbines to power its plant in Ohio to reduce the use of fossil fuels in production. The turbines are reported to produce up to 10,000 megawatts per year and supply up to 10 percent of the plant’s power.
#5 – A Robot Mascot
During Obama’s presidency, Honda introduced the former president to their robot, Asimo. While visiting the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo, Obama watched Asimo perform a number of tricks. Later, he admitted to the students he met there that he was unnerved by the robot.
#6 – 60 Years in the USA
In 2019, Honda could officially claim 60 years of automobile sales in the United States. Honda opened up its first sales location in Los Angeles, bringing the brand to America after getting its start in Japan. The brand has been going strong ever since.
#7 – Driving on Two Wheels
Honda Motor Company started its US-based business manufacturing motorcycles, and the first motorcycle to be produced was named “the Dream” by founder Soichiro Honda himself. It only took ten years to sell one million bikes in America.
#8 – You Have to Start Somewhere
The first car Honda ever produced for the US was the N600, a small two-door hatchback with a boxy shape that could achieve speeds of 135 mph. Acceleration wasn’t its strong point, however, with a quarter-mile time of nearly 20 seconds. But when you only have 42 horsepower, that’s actually not too shabby. The N600 was only sold from 1969 to 1972 before being replaced by the much more successful Honda Civic.
#9 – Honda Rules the Waves
Airplanes aren’t the only type of vehicle Honda builds to be more efficient: they build marine engines, too. In fact, back in 1973, Honda built an innovative four-stroke outboard marine engine that operated more efficiently and quietly than the common two-stroke engine most small craft used. On Honda’s website about their marine engines, they state, “No two-stroke stink to ruin your day on the water!”
#10 – VTEC Kicks In
As a company, Honda has often embraced being an innovator of new technology and engineering, which would often be utilized in its vehicles before any other auto manufacturers. Variable valve timing, anti-lock brakes, and speed-sensitive power steering were just a few of the elements Honda helped to pioneer. Each feature became an industry standard to improve upon vehicles for all producers over time.
#11 – Mowing the Lawn
Air and water have already been listed as two of Honda’s other enterprises, and now we can include grass on the list. Roads are not enough for the Honda Motor Co, and the company started building push-mowers in North Carolina in the year 1984.
#12 – The First Hybrid Car
While Toyota may be able to claim the Prius as record-breaking in mass-market sales for a hybrid, the Honda Insight was actually the first hybrid available for sale in the US market in 1999. Although often overshadowed by its iconic competitor, for 17 years, the Insight remained the most fuel-efficient vehicle in its class.
#13 – Learning from the Best
Before Soichiro Honda got into the auto manufacturing industry, he started building piston rings. The first round of production was sent to Toyota, but Toyota refused to purchase them due to quality concerns. Rather than be discouraged, Honda visited factories and learned how to produce what Toyota really wanted, which meant his next attempt was a success.
#14 – Dealing with Disaster
During World War II, Honda’s burgeoning business making piston rings took another difficult turn when disaster struck two production plants, one from a bomber attack and another from an earthquake. Still, Honda stayed true to his ideals and was able to salvage enough of the business to sell to Toyota, which then freed Honda to start manufacturing motorcycles.
#15 – The Smallest Truck You’ve Seen
Long before Honda began manufacturing the Honda Ridgeline in the US, the first automobile to come out of the motor company was not a car but a truck. It was the T360 mini-truck, to be exact, and it was made available for sale in 1963. With a total length of under 7 feet, this little truck could fit in the bed of some modern pickups.
#16 – A One-Man Show
In the same year that Honda Motor Company offered its four-stroke marine engine, the original founder, Soichiro Honda, chose to step down from his leadership role in his company. However, he remained a part of the company for many years afterward. Honda was able to enjoy a long retirement and lived until 1991.
#17 – The Honda-GM Alliance
Honda has joined forces with none other than GM in the automotive production and development of new vehicles, starting in 2021. The so-called “alliance” between the two competitors is expected to focus on the production of EVs, with the first product being the 2024 Honda Prologue.
#18 – 18 Million Sold
The first Honda Accord showed up at dealerships in 1976 as a hatchback model slightly larger than the Civic. Since then, Honda can claim it as the best-selling car in America, with more than 18 million units sold as of 2020. Just as unbelievable, the Accord has been named one of Car and Driver’s 10Best for an incredible 36 years in a row!
#19 – Civic-Minded
The Civic has an exciting claim to fame in its nameplate as the second-longest-running vehicle to be produced by a Japanese manufacturer (the Toyota Corolla entered production one year earlier). Another record set by Honda includes having five of the top ten most fuel-efficient vehicles, according to the EPA, between the years 1984-2010.
#20 – Too Many Awards to Count
In 2006, Motor Trend magazine awarded the Honda Ridgeline “Truck of the Year,” 43 years after Honda manufactured its first-ever vehicle with the T360 mini-truck. That same year, Honda collected awards from numerous publications like Car and Driver, Autobytel, and JD Power, as well as being named North American Car of the Year and Canadian Car of the Year.
The Honda Legacy
Feeling inspired by the ingenuity of Soichiro Honda’s legacy? There are countless awards, innovations, and exceptional standards set through the remarkable vision of a motor company that faced numerous crushing blows to its business over the years. Despite the trials that might have stopped the average human, Soichiro Honda held fast to his ideals and overcame the strife which threatened to end his work. Through forged alliances and a dedication to excellence, Honda Motor Company maintains its strong vision for the future in the spirit of its illustrious founder.