Image Credit

Soichiro Honda 1963 by Roderick Eime, CC BY 2.0, Adjusted levels and cropped from original.

Mechanic Soichiro Honda started manufacturing piston rings under the name Eastern Sea Precision Machine Company in 1937. Losing a contract with Toyota due to poor quality, Soichiro Honda went to engineering school. After dropping out, he toured Japanese manufacturing plants to learn about their quality control dynamics. In 1941, Honda acquired another contract as a supplier of piston rings for Toyota. Its success depended largely on the ability to mass produce rings using unskilled laborers.

In 1944, one plant suffered wartime damage from a bomb. In 1945, another plant received damage from the Mikawa Earthquake. Honda sold what remained to Toyota after the war using the capital to found the Honda Technical Research Institute in 1946. Armed with less than 200 square feet of workspace and twelve men, workers used surplus war engines to motorize bicycles. When those were gone, they manufactured their own bicycle engines to sell called the Honda Model A.

Liquidating the institute in 1949, the proceeds went to establish the Honda Motor Company, Ltd. They produced the Honda Model D bike that included both the frame and engine. In 1964, Honda led the industry as the biggest motorcycle manufacturer in the world. The first Honda motorized vehicle debuted under the Kei Car label. The T360 mini pick up truck hit the market. Soon after, Honda rolled out its first sports car with train driven back wheels called the S500.

Hondas first successful auto introduction to America started with the Acura, followed by the supped up Honda NSV. As early as 1959, Honda opened a sales and distribution center in Torrance California. Twenty years later Honda opened its first American manufacturing plant in Marysville, Ohio. Today Honda has facilities worldwide. Some of their manufacturing interests include motorcycles, automobiles, robots, engines, ATV’s, power equipment and aerospace devices.

The company provides Americans with over 200,000 Honda related jobs. Honda is driven by research and developing technology of the future. Hondas dream for future generations includes hydrogen energy and renewed dedication to using Formula I racing as a rolling experiment.


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