Honda Motor Co., Ltd. is one of the largest automobile manufacturers in Asia. The headquarters is located in the heart of Japan – in Tokyo. At the moment, the brand is engaged in the manufacture of cars. In 1986, it was the first to introduce premium cars into the series, whose example was followed by Toyota and Nissan.
The Beginning of History – 1940s
The history of Honda began with Soichiro Honda, who loved cars since childhood. Since childhood, he had to deal with various equipment because his father owned a small repair shop, where he accepted broken bicycles and other equipment. Of course, Soichiro helped his father from an early age and later went to work in a car repair shop. The young man’s life changed from that moment on – he showed himself as a racer and a talented inventor. In a few years, he will open his car repair shop.
The next step was the foundation of the Honda Institute of Technical Research, which appeared in 1946. After some time, the first mopeds and small motors “flowed” onto the market. He officially founded the Honda Motor Company two years later, where he began to produce Honda motorcycles. The production needed additional support, so Souichiro found experienced engineers Kihachiro Kawashima and Takeo Fujisawa. The latter is considered a co-founder of the company. Kawashima was responsible for the brand’s technical development, while Fushisawa was vital in marketing and sales. As a result, this company managed to achieve worldwide recognition, which, of course, was given to them with incredible difficulty.
The assembly of cars of this brand began relatively late – in the 60s when the rest of the automotive industry mastodons were already fully reaping the fruits of their efforts. The Japanese government was frankly not happy with the appearance of another competitor for those who got on their feet. Toyota, Nissan and Mitsubishi. The main argument of the leadership was – a negative reflection on the interests of the country. Despite resistance from the country’s government, Honda decided to build an ambitious plan. In May 1955, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry announced a program to create a people’s car, where Honda took an active part. The young company acts as one of the contestants, declaring its intention to participate. Recall that the people’s car had to meet the following parameters: have a four-seater landing and a maximum speed of 100 km / h. The price per unit must not exceed 150,000 yen.
The development of the first model was not easy for Honda. They had to hire about 50 engineers to establish a research centre. The management was confident that skilled workers would find a sweet spot for speed, comfort, and economy, but none made it to production, although the test prototypes reached the test. A hallmark of Honda’s personality was hypertrophied perfectionism, so it took a long time to create. But, the result is worth it – the debut cars turned out to be of the highest quality.
Start of Production of the First Models – 1962-1970
At the Japanese National Motor Show, held on October 25, 1962, Honda brings three competitors who claim to be popular. The S360 and S500 sports cars and the T36 compact truck. C360 could not get into mass production because it was considered an obsolete model, but he managed to open the way for C500. The high-tech Honda engine is designed to displace 531 cc. and has a power of 44 horsepower at 8000 pm. As a result, the car’s weight reached 680 kilograms, and the top speed was 129 km / h.
Most of the car companies were passionate about racing, so Honda decided to create their racing car to compete in Formula 1 races. To do this, organize a representative office in France. As time has shown, this step was the right one, as the S500 won the 600 km race, and in 1965 became the Formula 1 winner for its class.
The next model was called N360 and was released in 1966. A neat two-door car received a 354-cc air-cooled engine. The maximum power reached 31 hp. Especially for the USA and Europe, the N600 car is being developed, which will later become the brand’s first car that was officially exported to the USA.
The 70s become a boom for the development of security systems. The management decides to open additional research centres responsible for road safety and environmental conservation. The latter was a priority since, at this moment, the topic of ecology began to develop actively. Later, based on all the discussions, the “Clean Air Act” will appear, but the Compound Vortex Controlled Combustion (CVCC) motor presented earlier will “fit” into the established framework.
The Emergence of Legendary Models – 1970-1990
1971 also becomes fruitful for the company. A representative office opens in Brazil, and a little later, a car is born that will become a platform for a sharp jump in the company’s development – Honda Life. Unlike other small cars offered, its main advantage is to provide a high level of passenger comfort. Although the technical characteristics were not outstanding, the quality of artistry was at the highest level – quiet and smooth operation of the motor and an autonomous gearbox.
The beginning of 1972 crowned the appearance of the Honda Civic, which would later become a legend. By the way, the car is produced to this day. At the beginning of its journey, the small vehicle conquered everyone with its absolute reliability, high quality and low price. A little later, the body began to gradually “grow”, becoming more and more, but at first, it was as compact and profitable as possible. The first generation of Honda implied the presence of a front-wheel drive, 4-cylinder water-cooled engine. Despite the modest external dimensions, the cabin was comfortable to accommodate passengers. There were elements “masking” the budget in the house – wood trim, air conditioning, radio. Moreover, the design received disc brakes, which was rare for the “state employees”.
Experts are sure that the country’s economic situation played an important role. During these years, the fuel crisis began, so buyers were forced to switch to more affordable cars. Civic allowed trading from one fuel type to an alternative, which became a decisive point for its distribution.
In 1974, the oil crisis began, which forced the leading companies to cut production by half. However, Honda does something completely different – cutting the price for a reasonable one. As a result, the average resident of Japan can buy a Honda, which increases brand sales by 76%. However, this method was not the only one that stimulated sales. After a short time, the brand starts the Credit System program, which allows you to buy a car on credit. And this step of management turns out to be competent and gives Honda its share of growth. The price allowed.
Another “legend” that glorified the company in the 70s was – Honda Accord. The first generation appeared on the market in a hatchback body. A year later, a sedan was presented. Two years later, in 1978, in addition to the base 1.6-litre engine, a 1.8-litre engine appeared. In 1979, a 3-speed automatic transmission appeared, which is optional, but the price rises slightly, so the novelty flies like hotcakes, and in 1980 sales of this model reached 1 million units.
On the eve of the 70s and 80s, the company opens its test site, “Tochigi”, which will subsequently test its models. In 1980, the company became one of the largest automobile manufacturers in Japan.
New Time. Company Development in 1980-the 1990s
In the 80s, the company expanded its model range and introduced several original engineering solutions. Honda Vigor and City entered the market in 1981. By this time, the company had already been recognized in the local market and throughout the world. The number of sales reaches 5 million. Honda shares are gaining at a price and are acknowledged on the London Stock Exchange. A division opens in Canada, and engineers are working on creating a four-wheel control 4WS. In 1990, the Japanese manufacturer offered the first car powered by an alternative fuel – solar panels. It’s about the Honda Dream.
However, despite the development of the automotive direction, the management does not want to part with the origins. The company started its life with motorcycles, so bright representatives of light equipment came to light in parallel. For example, in 1988, a compact Japanese scooter was released – Honda Dio, which managed to win the hearts of Ukrainians, Japanese, Italians, Germans and Russians.
In 1991, at the age of 86, the founder of the company, Soichiro Honda, died. Despite this, the company’s management continues to support the company’s life and are focused on its development. In the 94th year, the first generation Honda Odyssey enters the market, which continues to this day.
In 1996, automatic torque distribution appeared, and two models entered the market – Honda Stepwagon and Logo. It is impossible not to recall the appearance of the first model with a lead-acid battery, which had only 66 horsepower, and one charge was enough for 160 kilometres. In 1999, this model went out of line as the announcement of the Honda Hybrid began. The latter appears almost immediately after the announcement of its appearance. In its original form, it had a hatchback body with three doors. The designers worked on its optimization: they made it streamlined, lightened the design, installed a low-powered 1.0-litre engine and 67 horsepower. Along with the main internal combustion engine was a 13-horsepower electric motor. On the threshold of two centuries, the company produces a compact van for 5-7 seats – Honda Stream. – Honda Insight begins.
The Development of the Company at Present – 2000 – Present
In 2001, another legend appeared – Honda Fit, which is presented in some markets with an alternative name – Honda Jazz. The design of these models was ideal for further modernization. After a short period, they released a model with a CVT, full and front-wheel-drive versions. This year, experts called this model “Car of the Year” only in the local market. In 2002, the brand’s most significant crossover with 7- and 8-seat accommodation was introduced – Honda Pilot, which, despite its size, is classified as a mid-size SUV. In 2008, the current model of the compact van Honda Fried appeared.
With the beginning of the new century, the company takes a vector to develop hydrogen fuel cells. The topic is as relevant to the present day as possible. The fact is that such power units do not emit impurities from the combustion of fuel into the atmosphere. After processing, only heat and a water park remain. The first models get a 134-horsepower electric motor. One refuelling is enough for 386 kilometres. In 2009, Honda managed to win the title of “Global Green Car of the Year”. In the same year, some of the principles of Honda are changing. Rear-wheel drive is no longer relevant for the entire model line for Acura and the leading brand. A year later, a sports hybrid car appears – the Honda CR-Z, which also received the title of “Car of the Year” in Japan due to the 1.5-litre 4-row internal combustion engine and electric motor, with a total power of 122 hp. and a consumption of 4.0 litres per “hundred”.
In 2004, Honda officially entered the Russian market. Then the central division was founded – Honda Motor RUS LLC, which, in addition to selling the cars themselves, also sells Honda spare parts—despite the debut, some models, such as Honda SRV, Accord, Civic, immediately became popular. In 2006, management announced a Driving Safety program for Russia. At the moment, the company continues to work to win the loyalty of domestic consumers, telling which Honda is better, announcing various promotions and expanding the range of models offered.