Honda

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MANUFACTURER
Honda
COMPANY
Honda Motor Co.
ORIGIN
Japanese
TYPE
Automotive, Aviation, Telematics
FOUNDERS
Soichiro Honda, Takeo Fujisawa

 

Honda Motor Co. is a Japanese multinational company primarily known for the manufacture of automobiles, motorcycles and power equipment.

Since 1959, Honda has been the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer and internal combustion engines by mass volume, reaching a production of more than 14 million engines each year. In 2001, Honda became the second largest Japanese automobile manufacturer and in 2011 they became the eighth largest manufacturer behind General Motors, Volkswagen group, Toyota, Hyundai Motor Group, Ford, Nissan and PSA Peugeot Citroen.

In 1986, Honda became the first Japanese automobile manufacturer with a sport luxury brand, Acura, and since then they have been involve with manufacturing gardening equipment, marine engines, personal watercraft and power generators among other products, evolving into artificial intelligence and robotics research, releasing the ASIMO robot in 2000. With the establishment of GE Honda Aero Engine, they have also progressed in aerospace engineering.

Honda was founded by Soichiro Hondawho worked as a mechanic at the Art Shokai Garage in japan which built and tuned cars for racing, and with financial help from his acquaintance, Kato Shichiro, he founded Tokai Seiki also known as Eastern Sea Precision Machine Company, making piston rings for Art Shokai Garage. After several failures, Tokai Seiki won a contract to manufacture piston rings for Toyota, but lost the contract due to poor quality. This prompted Honda to attend engineering school, but did not graduate and he visited factories around japan to better understand Toyota’s quality control processes and in 1941, he was able to mass produce piston rings to Toyota’s standard using an automated process that could even employ unskilled wartime laborers.

Tōkai Seiki was placed under control of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (called the Ministry of Munitions after 1943) at the start of World War II, and Soichiro Honda was demoted from president to senior managing director after Toyota took a 40% stake in the company. Honda aided the war effort by assisting other companies in automating their production of military propellers.

During the war, a US bomber destroyed Toki Seiki’s Yamashita plant and their Itawa plant was destroyed in an earthquake. Soichiro Honda sold the salvageable remains of the company to Toyota and founded the Honda Technical Research Institute using the proceeds in 1946. With a staff of only 12, the built and sold improvised motorized bicycles using two-stroke, 50cc, Tohatsu war surplus radio generator engines. When they ran out of these engines, they built their own based on the Tohatsu called the Honda Type-A, nicknamed BATA BATA for the sound it made.

The first complete motorcycle, frame and engine, made by Honda was the D-Type in 1949 and by 1964, Honda became the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer.

The first production automobile was the T360 mini pick-up truck, powered by a small 365cc, 4cylinder gasoline engine. The first production car was the S500 sports car following the T306 into production with its chain driven rear wheels pointing towards Honda’s motorcycles origins.

Honda saw success in the American market when it introduced the Acura brand with the Honda NSX supercar which was the first all-aluminum Monocoque vehicle that incorporated a mid-engine v6 with variable valve timing.