Top 10 Car Manufacturers: Honda Motor Company

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Colin Pawsey

#6: Honda Motor Company

A brief history

The founder of the company, Honda Soichiro started his first company Tokai Seiko (Eastern Sea Precision Machine Company) in 1937; and by 1941 had developed an automated process for mass-producing piston rings for use by Toyota. After the war he established the Honda Technical Research Institute in 1946; and with a staff of 12 men began building and supplying motorized bicycles. He liquidated the company in 1949 and used the funds to incorporate the Honda Motor Co. Ltd.

The first motorcycle produced by Honda was the 1949 model D, and Honda quickly grew to become the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles by 1964. The first automobile produced by the company was the T360 mini pick-up truck, in 1963.

In 1967 the front-wheel drive N360 minicar was released, and became the top seller in Japan in its first 3 years of production. The first overseas production of Honda vehicles began in 1969 with manufacturing in Taiwan.

The Honda Civic was first produced in 1972, and the CVCC low-emission engine became the first to comply with the 1970 U.S. Clean Air Act. Manufacturing in Indonesia began in 1975, and 1976 saw the introduction of Honda’s flagship model, the Accord.

In 1982 Honda started to manufacture vehicles in the USA for the first time, and released the Acura brand in America in 1986. By the end of the 1980’s total automobile production topped 15 million units, and the Accord had become the best-selling car model in America.

During the 1990’s worldwide automobile production exceeded 30 million vehicles, and Honda began to introduce low-emission and electric vehicles. LEV models Civic Ferio and Partner 1.6 were released in 1997, and in the same year leasing of EV Plus electric vehicles began in in the U.S.

In 2001 production in America reached over 10 million vehicles, and in 2002 leasing of FCX Fuel-cell vehicle began in both Japan and America. Worldwide production of vehicles topped 50 million units by 2003, and in 2005 the leasing of FCX Fuel-cell vehicles for home use began.

In 2006 sales of Bioethanol-compatible Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFV) models for the Brazilian market began, and in the same year Honda launched the Acura brand in China.

Honda has developed divisions of its company and manufacturing facilities around the globe, and over the years has established production plants in China, the United States, Pakistan, Canada, England, Japan, Belgium, Brazil, Mexico, New Zealand, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Turkey, Taiwan, Peru and Argentina.

Founded 1948
Headquarters Minato, Tokyo, Japan
Revenue (2013) $114.9 Billion (Year ending 31/3/14)
Pre-tax profit (2013) $7 Billion (Year ending 31/3/14)
Employees worldwide 190,338
Vehicle sales (2013) 3.4 Million
CEO Takanobu Ito



Takanubo Ito was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Honda Motor Corporation in June 2009. He joined Honda in 1978 and served in a number of positions prior to his appointment. He was Executive Vice President of Honda R&D in America from 1998-2000, and was appointed to the board in June 2000, by which time he was already well-known in the industry as ‘The engineer behind the legendary Honda NSX supercar of the 90’s’. He undertook several directorships within the company en route to becoming CEO in 2009.

Takanubo took charge at a time when the global financial crisis was at its worst, but Honda was in relatively good shape, as the only one of the three major Japanese car manufacturers expected to make a profit. He also had to navigate the company through the earthquake and tsunami of 2011 which took its toll on all Japanese manufacturers. Due to the sudden appreciation of the Yen, Takanubo surprised some people in 2011 when he suggested that production in Japan was no longer economically viable. During a speech in September 2012, he outlined Honda’s intention to implement global operation reform and to pursue "concurrent development by all six regions", in which Honda has an interest, in order to improve production efficiency.

In 2010 he set Honda’s "Direction for the next ten years", which is to, "Provide good products to our customers with speed, affordability and low CO2 emissions."


Honda’s mission statement and company principle is: ‘Maintaining a global viewpoint, we are dedicated to supplying products of the highest quality, yet at a reasonable price for worldwide customer satisfaction’. The company philosophy is: ‘Providing joys to the world through new challenges and the realization of dreams’, and it lists in its fundamental beliefs three joys – The joy of buying, the joy of selling, and the joy of creating.


Company information according to § 5 Telemediengesetz
IQPC Gesellschaft für Management Konferenzen mbH
Address: Friedrichstrasse 94, 10117 Berlin
Tel: 49 (0) 30 20 913 -274
Fax: 49 (0) 30 20 913 240
Registered at: Amtsgericht Charlottenburg, HRB 76720
VAT-Number: DE210454451
Management: Silke Klaudat, Richard A. Worden, Michael R. Worden

Firmeninformationen entsprechend § 5 Telemediengesetz
IQPC Gesellschaft für Management Konferenzen mbH
Adresse: Friedrichstrasse 94, 10117 Berlin
Telefonnummer: 030 20913 -274
Fax: 49 (0) 30 20 913 240
Email Adresse:
Registereintragungen: Amtsgericht Charlottenburg HRB 76720
Umsatzsteuer- Indentifikationsnummer DE210454451
Geschäftsführung: Silke Klaudat, Richard A. Worden, Michael R. Worden