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Honda

Honda

Japan Japan (1948 - present)
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History

Honda N360

Honda N360

© photo courtesy of: Honda

Honda has grown to be one of the largest and most important car and motorcycle manufacturer that also builds scooters, trucks, all-terrain vehicles, jets, watercraft, jet and marine engines, lawn and garden equipment and aeronautical technology.

When it comes to automobile production, this company is number five on the list of the world’s largest car producers. It is also the world’s leading engine builder.

Honda Motor Company also incorporates its own brand of luxury cars only, AcuraAcuraAcuraJapan, 1986 > present24 models
494 photos
4 videos
, which is sold in North America and China.

Soichiro Honda used to be a mechanic that worked for Japanese car brand Toyota for a while, having built a small piston factory to provide the elder brand. However, with the start and development of the second World War, the plant was devastated and Soichiro Honda decided to create a whole new company with what was left. In that same place, he began adding an engine to a regular bicycle and invented a rather cheap new means of transport. Soichiro then named his factory as Honda Research Institute Company, which would finally be established as Honda Motor Company in 1948.

At the newly established company, Honda began manufacturing scooters and motorcycles that would be quite successful, especially the scooters, in 1950’s.

By the following decade, Honda began exporting his motorcycles to the United States, no longer being confined to the Japanese market. That was a bold, risky move for Honda, a small company entering a highly competitive market that was being led by huge and well established brands. Anyhow, Honda managed to set up as the world’s biggest motorcycle producer right in the 1970’s and that is title that no other brand has taken over from the Japanese company.

In the beginning of the 1960’s, Honda also started building road cars that were, however, more specifically built for the Japanese purchasers. The first Honda production vehicle was the 1963 small pickup truck T360. As a small and independent car builder that was set in a country with an intervenient government structure, Honda made historical success in Japan as a mass producer.

Honda Civic

Honda Civic

© photo courtesy of: Honda

When Honda’s small cars began being exported to the United States, they were quite unsuccessful but with the American country’s tightening emissions laws and the “oil embargo” crisis of the 1970’s, the Japanese brand was able to outdo the heavier and slower North American vehicles with better performance and fuel efficiency.

The Honda CivicCivicHonda CivicJapan, 1972 > present10 series
304 versions
439 photos
2 videos
was responsible for establishing the brand’s reputation for reliability amongst the buyers. Honda was also the first Japanese car company to open a factory in the United States, in 1982. Nowadays, there are several Honda plants located in an amount of North American cities.

In 1986, Honda introduced a separate line of luxury vehicles and branded it Acura. The Acura cars were more precisely modified, sportier versions of Honda originals, with superior power output. The first Japanese luxurious car, the Legend, was built by Honda in 1987.

Honda is also responsible for building the world’s first passenger vehicle with a four-wheel steering system, the 1987 Honda PreludePreludeHonda PreludeJapan, 1978 > 20015 series
24 versions
24 photos
.



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Logo

Honda Logo

Honda Logo

© photo courtesy of: Honda

Honda has several logos, each one for each of its manufacturing departments: automobiles, motorcycles, watercraft, jets, all-terrain-vehicles and trucks, electrical and garden equipment, engines and aeronautical components.

The Japanese brand’s logo for the automobile division is a simple silver “H” that obviously refers to Honda, outlined by a silver round-angled square.



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Motorsport

Honda Civic WTCC

Honda Civic WTCC

© photo courtesy of: Honda

Honda is active in motorsport through different types of vehicles. In the automobile division, Honda cars began participating in motorsport competitions in 1964, entering the Formula 1 as a constructor, at the German Grand Prix to be more precise.

A Honda car would give the brand its first racing victory at the 1965 Mexican Grand Prix and the second one at the 1967 Italian Grand Prix with John Surtees.

In 1966, Honda was also dominant at the Formula 2, having won every single race for that season.
During the 1960’s, Honda successfully competed in 47 Grand Prix as a constructor but some financial complications and a tragic accident on track made Honda decide to leave international motorsports in 1968.

It wasn’t until the beginning of the 1980’s decade that Honda returned to competing as a successful engine supplier to the Ralt team in Formula 2.

The brand also made a comeback to the Formula 1 in 1983 with the Spirit team, which Honda left for the WilliamsWilliamsWilliamsUnited Kingdom, 1977 > present36 models
249 photos
team for the 1984 season. Williams would bring Honda the Formula 1 Constructors Championship title for 1986 and 1987.

Honda then switched to the McLarenMcLarenMcLarenUnited Kingdom, 1963 > present89 models
1872 photos
12 videos
team, which won the same title in the following 4 years (1988-1991), making Honda engines a winner six times in row. At the end of the 1992 season, Honda chose to leave the Formula 1.

In 1994, the Japanese company entered the CART IndyCar World Series, supplying car machinery and even powered six consecutive drivers’ championships.

10 years later, in 2004, the cars that were powered by Honda engines won 14 out of 16 IndyCar races, such as the Indianapolis 500. They finished the season with the Manufacturers’ and the Drivers’ Championship titles, as well as the Rookie of the Year title. In the 2006 season all the cars’ engines in the IndyCar Series became supplied by Honda.

In 2005 Honda bought the whole BAR racing team (they had a stake in the team since 2004) and began competing as a constructor again. In 2006, driver Jenson Button raced an Honda to victory at the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix.

Honda’s Formula 1 team, Honda Racing F1 Team, is based in Brackley, United Kingdom.

 



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