THE 100-YEAR RIDE: How Honda Became a Globally Well-Known Brand

(Background squiggle art by yours truly!)

The founder of a certain company had turned 100 back in 2016; His name is Soichiro Honda, and he was the founder of a company called Honda, which was founded in October of 1946 in Hamamatsu, Japan, and was incorporated two years later, on September 24th, 1948. Honda is a manufacturer of aircraft, power equipment, automobiles, and motorcycles…Yes, especially motorcycles.
In fact, in 1959 Honda became the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer and has been so to this very day; Honda’s also the world’s largest manufacturer of internal combustion engines measured by volume, producing more than 14 million internal combustion engines each year.
In 2001, the company had also become the second-largest Japanese automobile manufacturer, as well as being the 8th largest automobile manufacturer in the world behind Toyota, Ford, and General Motors.
Soichiro Honda had an interest in automobiles throughout his life while working as a mechanic at the Art Shokai garage, tuning cars as well as entering them in races; With the financing from an acquaintance of his by the name of Kato Shichiro, Honda founded Tokai Seiki in 1937 to make piston rings working out of the Art Shokai garage. Sure, they had initial failures, but Tokai Seiki won a contract to supply those piston rings to Toyota, but the contract was lost due to the products’ poor quality. Honda then attended engineering school without graduating while visiting factories around Japan just to get a better understanding of the quality control process of Toyota. In 1941, Honda was then able to mass-produce the piston rings acceptable to Toyota, using an automated process that could employ even unskilled wartime laborers.
In the next few decades to come, Honda’s product line would expand, as well as its operations and exports to countries around the world; The successful Acura was introduced by Honda in 1986 to the American market, an attempt catch up with the luxury vehicle market. In 1991, the Honda NSX supercar was introduced, which happens to be the first all-aluminum monocoque vehicle that incorporated a mid-engine V6 with variable valve timing.

Soichiro Honda passed away on August 5th, 1991; Afterward, the company in which he founded had found itself being outpaced quickly by other Japanese automakers, and was then became engulfed by the truck and sport utility vehicle boom of the 1990s, and they all took a toll on the profitability of the company…
Then, the company had announced plans to halve production at its UK plants following the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in March of 2011, a decision made that involves putting staff at the Swindon plant on a 2-day week until the end of May as the manufacturer began struggling to source supplies from Japan.

Of the many products that Honda has made over the years, they are, in addition to the Acura: Fit, Insight, Civic, Accord, Legend, CR-Z and CR-V, as well as two versions of the Odyssey, actually two versions of the vehicle, one for North America and the other, a smaller vehicle, was sold internationally.
If you would like to learn more about the history of Honda, then please visit