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A Look Back At Honda

A man is walking to his blue 2020 Honda Civic Sedan Sport that is parked under an overpass.

 

“We have consistently chosen the most difficult path filled with hardships. We must possess the will to challenge difficulties and the wisdom to create new values without being bound by established standards. We do not wish to imitate others.” This quote by Soichiro Honda, one of the co-founders of Honda Motor Company, Ltd, signified from the beginning that Honda was unlike any of the competition out there. Through this differentiation, they would move the industry forward. Today, Honda is one of the top leading brands in the market. If you’ve been recently searching online inquiring and searching, “Honda Dealer Near Me,” you’ve already made the right choice and are most likely curious about what Honda can offer you. But to go forward, we have to go back and figure out where it all began.

Popular Honda models you’d find today, such as the Accord, Odyssey, and Pilot, are leaps and bounds ahead of what was possible in Soichiro Honda’s lifetime. His dedication to supplying vehicles that are not only powerful and reliable but revolutionary as well, is what makes the company still popular for millions of drivers to this day. Honda holds many accolades, and their business is not limited to automobiles as they offer other products such as power generators, watercraft, gardening equipment, and so forth. Amongst their list of accomplishments, Honda was the company to invent VTEC, which is still widely utilized to this day. Honda is also now as well known for their motorcycles as they’ve reached a production of 400 million motorcycles between 1959 and 2019.

A gray 2020 Honda CR-V Touring is parked atop a parking garage. Check one out at a Honda Dealer Near Me.

The Beginning of Honda

Honda Motor Co., Ltd was incorporated in 1948 by co-founders Soichiro Honda and Takeo Fujisawa in the city of Hamamatsu, Japan. Before this, Honda employed only 12 men situated in a tiny 170 sq ft garage, which is a far cry from the 215,000+ workers employed by Honda today globally. These 12 men performed their duties of both building and selling motorized bicycles that were powered by Tohatsu radio generator engines supplied from a war surplus after World War II. These engines inevitably became short in supply, prompting Honda to conceptualize their own engine heavily inspired by the Tohatsu engine and fit customers’ motorized bicycles with them. Once Mr. Honda started working alongside Mr. Fujisawa, they incorporated their business, and in 1949, their very first complete product was sold to the public.

The first product they sold was a motorcycle designed and manufactured solely by Honda known as the D-Type with the “D” standing for “Dream.” Honda continued to produce the D-Type for a number of years, and on June 11th, 1959, Honda established American Honda Motor Co., Inc., Honda’s first international subsidiary in America. Meanwhile, back in Japan, Honda produced its first automobile known as the T360 mini pick-up truck in 1963, along with the S500 sports car released later that year. By 1964, Honda became the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world, and by 1968, they achieved a new milestone of selling over one million motorcycles in the U.S. in under a decade.

Honda would see continual success through products such as the Honda CB750 motorcycle with a 4-cylinder engine that launched in 1969. This bike is still praised for its inventiveness, and retrospectives on the bike itself tend to refer to it as the “bike that changed everything.” That same year, Honda launched the N600, the first automobile by Honda to be sold to the American market. In 1973, co-founders Soichiro Honda and Takeo Fujisawa stepped down together, ending their 20 year-long partnership. Honda, as a company, kept going and started facing an uphill battle amongst the many other Japanese manufacturers who were appearing left and right.

An Ever-Growing Industry

The Fuel Cell badging is shown in closeup on a red 2020 Honda Clarity.

In 1976, Honda released the Accord, a passenger vehicle with a 3-door hatchback design, which was followed up by the 4-door sedan style in 1979. The Accord was a massive hit for Honda. It helped the company achieve even more popularity, and this couldn’t have been more evident than when America made the Accord the best-selling passenger car in the country, selling over 12.5 million units. To this day, the 2020 Honda Accord remains a 4-door sedan and retains a significant amount of popularity, with the Accord being in its tenth-generation as of 2018.

Honda opened a subsidiary known as Acura in 1986 with a focus on luxury vehicles, and it was the first of its kind for a Japanese automotive manufacturer. Acura started with 60 dealerships across America and found instant success with their Legend and Integra vehicles. The competition was at an all-time high from multiple Japanese manufacturers thanks in part to it being more profitable at this time for Japanese automotive manufacturers to have pricier vehicles imported to the U.S. for more profit. By the year 1990, Acura had sold 138,000 vehicles.

It wasn’t until the year 1990 Acura debuted the NSX, a sports car powered by a V6 engine, and with this vehicle, they sought after competing with the likes of Ferrari and Porsche. The NSX was the first vehicle to include VTEC technology, created by Honda engineer Ikuo Kajtani and this technology improves your engine’s performance at higher RPMs. The NSX was constructed of an all-aluminum monocoque body and is considered a collector’s piece for some.

Ever since 1999, Honda has surrounded itself with a lineup of popular vehicles that you can still on the market today. One of the most revolutionary and evolutionary moments in Honda’s history as a whole was when they released the Honda Insight. This new vehicle was a hybrid, which was a rather new concept back in the 1990s and brought fuel efficiency to new heights with its 61 MPG in the city, 70 MPG on the highway, and a 65 MPG combined EPA fuel rating estimate. The Insight has had a couple of separate hiatuses throughout its production, most recently picking back up in 2018. To this day, Honda claims Insight is the “most fuel-efficient, non-plugin vehicle in its class.”

Here and Now

The white humanoid robot ASIMO is waving in front of a blue background.

Throughout the new Millennium, Honda’s advancements didn’t slow down. Some impressive stuff has happened since then, such as Honda inventing their humanoid robot named ASIMO, who contains a variety of impressive AI skills and features, even meeting former President Obama at one point. Of course, their production of automobiles didn’t slow down either, and on March 20th of 2014, Honda built the 10-millionth Accord in North America. The total number of Honda and Acura vehicles reached an impressive 20 million units. What we most enjoy about Honda is their willingness to look way ahead into the future and start planning towards it.

If you ask a Honda fan today why they continue to stay loyal to their brand of choice, the answers might be along the lines of reliable and powerful, with a heavy emphasis on the reliability aspect as they don’t contain a high failure rate whatsoever. When shopping for a Honda or Acura today, you may feel a bit overwhelmed by the number of models there are nowadays. This is why we recommend visiting your local Honda dealership and speaking with an experienced sales representative to understand which model works best for you. Since Honda’s catalog is extensive due to its long history as a company, you can surely find a Honda vehicle within your price range when shopping in both the new and used market. Once you have figured out which model you want, visit your local dealership and take it for a test drive to get the full experience before you make your purchase.

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