Honda got its start in Hamamatsu, Japan in 1946. After WWII, the Japanese needed inexpensive transportation that would also be fuel efficient. So, Soichiro Honda, a motorcycle racer, opened the Honda Technical Research Institute and produced the A-type bicycle engine, and these motorbikes proved to be cheap and efficient transportation. In 1948, Soichiro Honda founded his Honda Motor Company, Ltd. His little company was to become one that achieved a lot of “firsts.”
Honda History Timeline
On June 11, 1959, he opened his first US store of the American Honda Motor Company, in Los Angeles, with six employees.
In 1962, Honda began selling power equipment such as tillers and generators in the US.
1969 saw the first Honda motorcycle in the US, Honda Dream CB750. The same year, Honda began importing its first car in the US, the Honda N600.
In 1973, the Honda Civic hatchback was sold in the US.
Also in 1973, Honda produced the first fuel efficient 4 stroke outboard marine engines.
The next year (1974), Honda Civic’s new CVCC engine makes it the first car to pass the requirements of the Clean Air Act without a catalytic converter.
In 1977, the Civic was number one on the first EPA list of fuel efficient vehicles, with it’s 40mpg.
The Honda Accord hatchback came in 1976, and the Honda Accord sedan in 1979.
In 1977, the Honda GL Gold Wing touring motorcycle was first introduced.
Until now, Honda had been importing into the US. Finally, in 1979, Honda became the first Japanese car company to opens a production facility in the US, making the CR250M Elsinore motorcycle.
In 1982, Honda became the first Japanese car company to produce a vehicle in the US, the Accord.
In 1984 came another fuel-efficiency milestone when Honda produced the CRX-HF, the first vehicle with an EPA fuel rating of over 50mpg. Honda was now also making walk-behind lawn mowers in the US.
Honda became the first Japanese automaker to produce a luxury line, in 1986, with the introduction of the Acura Integra and Acura Legend.
In 1988, the Honda Accord Coupe became the first car built in the US be exported to Japan.
In keeping with the racing history of its founder, in 1994 Honda entered the Indy open wheel series.
Just as it was the first car to reach number one on the EPA list of fuel efficient cars, likewise in 1997 Honda was the first to pass Calfornia’s strict low emission standards with its 1988 Accord.
In 1999, another first, when the Honda Insight became the US’s first hybrid vehicle, with rating of 70 mpg.
Honda’s Civic Coupe became the first compact car to achieve a 5-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2001.
The first fuel cell car to be sold to an individual was a Honda FCX, sold to a family in 2005.
In 2008, Honda began production of the FCX Clarity fuel cell vehiclels.
In 2006, Honda began selling it’s Hondajet light jet and in 2008 began work on a facility in North Carolina to produce jet engines.
Honda history continues…