Although Honda is best known for producing incredibly reliable and family-friendly vehicles like the Accord and Civic, they have a lot more going for them than you might realize at first. There are plenty of Honda cars on the road, but they actually got their start making motorized bicycles, and they are a major name in manufacturing engines and generators. In fact, they’re also involved in making a wide range of other types of vehicles, not all of which are designed to drive on the land.
It’s easy to look at a brand like Honda and only see them for a small part of what they represent, like reliable cars that are very popular. But looking at the big picture can help you understand the values of these kinds of companies and really appreciate everything they have to offer. So let’s take a look at some things you may not know about the Honda Motor Company – maybe you’ll learn a thing or two about them. Whether you drive a Honda or you’ve just seen commercials for them, and you’d like to know more, I’ll open up your eyes to what that they’re all about.
#1 – It all Started with Motorized Bikes
While Honda cars might be what they’re best known for now (though there are plenty of motorcycle enthusiasts out there that only care about their two-wheeled vehicles), they got their start with bikes. Prior to that, the history of Honda goes back to 1922, when Soichiro Honda, only 15 years old, began working at a Japanese automobile service company as a mechanic. I think about what I was doing at 15 years old, and suddenly feel a bit inadequate.
In 1928, Honda opened his own auto repair business in his hometown, and in 1937 he founded another company to produce piston rings for Toyota. World War II had a huge impact on the Japanese auto industry, and most of Honda’s plants were destroyed in the war. Honda sold what remained of his company to Toyota.
But then, in 1946, he founded the Honda Technical Research Institute in order to start building motorized bikes. These were quite successful, so much so that he reformed his business as Honda Motor Company in 1948 in order to focus on them and other vehicles. A lot changed and happened over the course of those 26 years, but the result is one of the most popular auto companies in the world.
#2 – They Started in the US in the 1950s
On June 11th in 1959, the American Honda Motor Company was established in California, marking the introduction of Honda vehicles to the US. It’s noteworthy that Honda did not merely try to import their vehicles to America, but instead developed an American subsidiary to fully embrace everything the US has to offer.
Initially, they continued to sell motorized bikes and motorcycles here in the US, with 1 million sold by 1968, and the legendary CB750 introduced in 1969, revolutionizing and changing mainstream motorcycles for decades to follow. Of course, that wasn’t the only major development for Honda in the 1960s…
#3 – First Sold Cars in the US in 1969
In 1969, the Honda N600 debuted here in the US as the first automobile sold by Honda in America. This came along a decade before the Honda Accord (that’s right, the Accord first launched in 1979 and has been going strong ever since) and set the tone for many of the vehicles that would follow. Although it might not have made a huge splash initially, Honda learned from it and has continued to develop exciting vehicles.
#4 – Many Hondas are Manufactured in the US
While the Honda Motor Company has its roots in Japan, they’re actually not all imports. There are a lot of Honda cars and vehicles built here in the US at a number of plants, including major manufacturing centers in Ohio. In fact, the 1982 Honda Accord was the first foreign vehicle actually manufactured here in the US for sale in America. This really reflects the way that Honda has embraced their role in American auto sales and demonstrated a desire to be more than simply a car importer.
#5 – Honda Vehicles Include More than Cars
Although most people only think of Honda cars and motorcycles when they talk about the Honda Motor Company, the Japanese manufacturer actually produces much more than that. They make a number of very popular outboard motors for boats and jet skis, as well as aircrafts, mountain bikes, and lawn equipment. They also produce a wide range of generators and other types of equipment that can be found all throughout the world.
#6 – Honda is a Major Soybean Exporter
This might seem a bit strange, considering most people think of Honda related to cars and motorcycles, but they are actually a major soybean exporter. Japanese cuisine and cooking uses a lot of soybeans, not only as a base ingredient but also in making other products, such as tofu. In the 1980s, Honda realized that soybeans were plentiful here in the US, but there was not a massive demand for it at the time. Since there was a tremendous market for soybeans in Japan, they used their connections in the US to export large numbers of them from Ohio to Japan.
#7 – Honda is the Largest Engine Manufacturer in the World
Even when you’re looking at equipment and vehicles that aren’t actually made by Honda, you can still find some Honda equipment in them – particularly engines. Honda is the largest manufacturer of engines in the world, and they provide their engines to a wide range of other companies producing all kinds of equipment. You can find Honda engines in other vehicles, in custom bikes and motorcycles, and even in powerful construction equipment and machinery.
#8 – A 1990 Honda Accord Reached One Million Miles
In 2011, a man named Joe Cicero from Maine achieved the unthinkable: he reached 1,000,000 miles with his 1990 Honda Accord. Cicero bought the vehicle used in 1996, and it already had 76,000 miles on it, but once he got it, he treated it properly and took good care of it. He followed the owner’s manual to the letter, keeping it properly serviced and maintained, with regular oil changes and using factory parts when maintenance was needed. And while he did have to replace the radiator a couple of times, he reached 1,000,000 miles with the original engine and transmission. I told you Honda cars are known for being reliable.
#9 – Honda is Incredibly Eco-Friendly
Not only reliable, but they’re also known for being environmentally friendly. In fact, Honda developed the CVCC engine for the Civic in 1974 in order to meet the strict emissions standards of the US Clean Air Act without using a catalytic converter, something no other vehicle had done. The Honda Civic itself was a response to the oil crisis of 1973, and the first model could get 40mpg on the highway – that’s the kind of fuel economy manufacturers still brag about, nearly 50 years later.
As you can see, there’s a lot more to Honda than their reliable cars and fun-to-ride motorcycles. Whether you learned something new or simply rediscovered what they have to offer, maybe it’s time for you to check out everything Honda has going on at your local dealer?