Key Events in Honda’s History
In October 1946, in Hamamatsu, Japan, Soichiro Honda took over a factory wartime bombings had left in ruins and established the Honda Technical Research Institute. First he tried mass-producing frosted glass windows, and then woven bamboo roof panels. Then Soichiro came across a surplus of two-stroke motors and had an idea — he was going to build motorbikes. The bikes took off and soon sold out, which lead Soichiro to begin manufacturing his own engines. And so, the history of Honda began.
1949: Co-founders Soichiro Honda and Takeo Fujisawa establish Honda Motor Co., Ltd. and introduces its first original designed and engineered product named the “Dream” D-type motorcycle that can go up to 50 mph.
1959: On June 11, the first Honda Motor Co., Ltd. overseas subsidiary storefront opened with six employees in Los Angeles. They started selling three small motorcycles and The Cub, the first Honda product sold in the US.
1968: Honda sells their 1 millionth motorcycle in the US.
1969: The first Honda automobile is sold in America — the Honda N600. In addition, they introduced the 4-cylinder Honda CB750, which “changed everything” and was named “Motorcycle of the Century” in 2012.
1973: Honda introduces the fuel-efficient 4-stroke outboard marine engines, which are quieter, clearer and fuel-efficient and also debut its fuel-efficient Civic Hatchback.
1974: Honda engineers create a groundbreaking CVCC engine that makes the Honda Civic the first vehicle to meet the strict emissions standards of the new U.S. Clean Air Act without the use of a catalytic converter.
1976: The company introduces the Honda Accord, which became the best-selling passenger car in America, with American car buyers purchasing over 12.5 million.
1984: This year Honda introduces the CRX-HF, the first EPA fuel economy rating of 50 miles per gallon. They also found The American Honda Foundation, which has awarded over $32 million to organizations in every state in the U.S.
1986: Their first luxury vehicle is introduced — the Acura — which would go on to earn four consecutive JD Power and Associates Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) awards.
1990: Honda debuts the Acura NSX, the first production car with an all-aluminum monocoque body.
1999: It launched the Honda Insight, America’s first gas-electric hybrid car.
2001: Their environmental efforts continue, with the manufacturing of the Odyssey minivan at the plant in Alabama, the first car manufacturing zero waste-to-landfill plant. The also manufacture a complete line meeting or exceeding the California LEV emissions standards.
2002: The Honda FCX is certified as the world’s first fuel cell automobile but the US EPA.
2008: Honda breaks new ground introducing the 2009 FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle.
2014: The 10-millionth Honda Accord built in North America is manufactured at the Marysville Auto Plant, and Honda celebrates a total U.S. production of 20 million Honda and Acura automobiles.
2015: Not content with just making cars and motorcycles, the HondaJet is cleared for takeoff and achieves type certification from the Federal Aviation Administration.
2016: Honda Civic named North American Car of the Year, the second time they’ve won that honor.
2018: The 2018 Honda Accord earned the 2018 North American Car of the Year award.