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  • Honda Motor Co., Ltd.; ) is a Japanese public multinational corporation primarily known

  • as a manufacturer of automobiles, motorcycles and power equipment.

  • Honda has been the world's largest motorcycle manufacturer since 1959, as well as the world's

  • largest manufacturer of internal combustion engines measured by volume, producing more

  • than 14 million internal combustion engines each year. Honda became the second-largest

  • Japanese automobile manufacturer in 2001. Honda was the eighth largest automobile manufacturer

  • in the world behind General Motors, Volkswagen Group, Toyota, Hyundai Motor Group, Ford,

  • Nissan, and PSA in 2011. Honda was the first Japanese automobile manufacturer

  • to release a dedicated luxury brand, Acura, in 1986. Aside from their core automobile

  • and motorcycle businesses, Honda also manufactures garden equipment, marine engines, personal

  • watercraft and power generators, amongst others. Since 1986, Honda has been involved with artificial

  • intelligence/robotics research and released their ASIMO robot in 2000. They have also

  • ventured into aerospace with the establishment of GE Honda Aero Engines in 2004 and the Honda

  • HA-420 HondaJet, which began production in 2012. Honda has three joint-ventures in China.

  • In 2013, Honda invested about 5.7% of its revenues in research and development. Also

  • in 2013, Honda became the first Japanese automaker to be a net exporter from the United States,

  • exporting 108,705 Honda and Acura models while importing only 88,357.

  • History As a young man, Honda's founder, Hondaichirō

  • had an interest in automobiles. He worked as a mechanic at the Art Shokai garage, where

  • he tuned cars and entered them in races. In 1937, with financing from his acquaintance

  • Kato Shichirō, Honda foundedkai Seiki to make piston rings working out of the Art

  • Shokai garage. After initial failures, Tōkai Seiki won a contract to supply piston rings

  • to Toyota, but lost the contract due to the poor quality of their products. After attending

  • engineering school without graduating, and visiting factories around Japan to better

  • understand Toyota's quality control processes, by 1941 Honda was able to mass-produce piston

  • rings acceptable to Toyota, using an automated process that could employ even unskilled wartime

  • laborers. Tōkai Seiki was placed under control of the

  • Ministry of Commerce and Industry at the start of World War II, and Soichiro Honda was demoted

  • from president to senior managing director after Toyota took a 40% stake in the company.

  • Honda also aided the war effort by assisting other companies in automating the production

  • of military aircraft propellers. The relationships Honda cultivated with personnel at Toyota,

  • Nakajima Aircraft Company and the Imperial Japanese Navy would be instrumental in the

  • postwar period. A US B-29 bomber attack destroyedkai Seiki's Yamashita plant in 1944, and

  • the Itawa plant collapsed in the 1945 Mikawa earthquake, and Soichiro Honda sold the salvageable

  • remains of the company to Toyota after the war for ¥450,000, and used the proceeds to

  • found the Honda Technical Research Institute in October 1946. With a staff of 12 men working

  • in a 16 m2 shack, they built and sold improvised motorized bicycles, using a supply of 500

  • two-stroke 50 cc Tohatsu war surplus radio generator engines. When the engines ran out,

  • Honda began building their own copy of the Tohatsu engine, and supplying these to customers

  • to attach their bicycles. This was the Honda Model A, nicknamed the Bata Bata for the sound

  • the engine made. In 1949, the Honda Technical Research Institute was liquidated for ¥1,000,000,

  • or about US$5,000 today; these funds were used to incorporate Honda Motor Co., Ltd.

  • At about the same time Honda hired engineer Kihachiro Kawashima, and Takeo Fujisawa who

  • provided indispensable business and marketing expertise to complement Soichiro Honda's technical

  • bent. The close partnership between Soichiro Honda and Fujisawa lasted until they stepped

  • down together in October 1973. The first complete motorcycle, with both the

  • frame and engine made by Honda, was the 1949 Model D, the first Honda to go by the name

  • Dream. Honda Motor Company grew in a short time to become the world's largest manufacturer

  • of motorcycles by 1964. The first production automobile from Honda

  • was the T360 mini pick-up truck, which went on sale in August 1963. Powered by a small

  • 356-cc straight-4 gasoline engine, it was classified under the cheaper Kei car tax bracket.

  • The first production car from Honda was the S500 sports car, which followed the T360 into

  • production in October 1963. Its chain-driven rear wheels pointed to Honda's motorcycle

  • origins. Over the next few decades, Honda worked to

  • expand its product line and expanded operations and exports to numerous countries around the

  • world. In 1986, Honda introduced the successful Acura brand to the American market in an attempt

  • to gain ground in the luxury vehicle market. The year 1991 saw the introduction of the

  • Honda NSX supercar, the first all-aluminum monocoque vehicle that incorporated a mid-engine

  • V6 with variable-valve timing. CEO Tadashi Kume was succeeded by Nobuhiko

  • Kawamoto in 1990. Kawamoto was selected over Shoichiro Irimajiri, who oversaw the successful

  • establishment of Honda of America Manufacturing, Inc. in Marysville, Ohio. Both Kawamoto and

  • Irimajiri shared a friendly rivalry within Honda, and Irimajiri would resign in 1992

  • due to health issues. Following the death of Soichiro Honda and

  • the departure of Irimajiri, Honda found itself quickly being outpaced in product development

  • by other Japanese automakers and was caught off-guard by the truck and sport utility vehicle

  • boom of the 1990s, all which took a toll on the profitability of the company. Japanese

  • media reported in 1992 and 1993 that Honda was at serious risk of an unwanted and hostile

  • takeover by Mitsubishi Motors, who at the time was a larger automaker by volume and

  • flush with profits from their successful Pajero and Diamante.

  • Kawamoto acted quickly to change Honda's corporate culture, rushing through market-driven product

  • development that resulted in recreational vehicles such as the Odyssey and the CR-V,

  • and a refocusing away from some of the numerous sedans and coupes that were popular with Honda's

  • engineers but not with the buying public. The most shocking change to Honda came when

  • Kawamoto ended Honda's successful participation in Formula One after the 1992 season, citing

  • costs in light of the takeover threat from Mitsubishi as well as the desire to create

  • a more environmentally-friendly company image. Later, 1995 gave rise to the Honda Aircraft

  • Company with the goal of producing jet aircraft under Honda's name.

  • Corporate profile and divisions

  • Honda is headquartered in Minato, Tokyo, Japan. Their shares trade on the Tokyo Stock Exchange

  • and the New York Stock Exchange, as well as exchanges in Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo, Kyoto,

  • Fukuoka, London, Paris and Switzerland. The company has assembly plants around the

  • globe. These plants are located in China, the United States, Pakistan, Canada, England,

  • Japan, Belgium, Brazil, México, New Zealand, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Philippines, Thailand,

  • Vietnam, Turkey, Taiwan, Perú and Argentina. As of July 2010, 89 percent of Honda and Acura

  • vehicles sold in the United States were built in North American plants, up from 82.2 percent

  • a year earlier. This shields profits from the yen's advance to a 15-year high against

  • the dollar. Honda's Net Sales and Other Operating Revenue

  • by Geographical Regions in 2007 American Honda Motor Company is based in Torrance,

  • California. Honda Racing Corporation is Honda's motorcycle racing division. Honda Canada Inc.

  • is headquartered in Markham, Ontario, their manufacturing division, Honda of Canada Manufacturing,

  • is based in Alliston, Ontario. Honda has also created joint ventures around the world, such

  • as Honda Siel Cars and Hero Honda Motorcycles in India, Guangzhou Honda and Dongfeng Honda

  • in China, Boon Siew Honda in Malaysia and Honda Atlas in Pakistan.

  • Following the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 Honda announced plans to halve

  • production at its UK plants. The decision was made to put staff at the Swindon plant

  • on a 2-day week until the end of May as the manufacturer struggled to source supplies

  • from Japan. It's thought around 22,500 cars were produced during this period.

  • Leadership Products

  • Automobiles

  • Honda's global lineup consists of the Fit, Civic, Accord, Insight, CR-V, CR-Z, Legend

  • and two versions of the Odyssey, one for North America, and a smaller vehicle sold internationally.

  • An early proponent of developing vehicles to cater to different needs and markets worldwide,

  • Honda's lineup varies by country and may have vehicles exclusive to that region. A few examples

  • are the latest Honda Odyssey minivan and the Ridgeline, Honda's first light-duty uni-body

  • pickup truck. Both were designed and engineered primarily in North America and are produced

  • there. Other example of exclusive models includes the Honda Civic five-door hatchback sold in

  • Europe. Honda's automotive manufacturing ambitions

  • can be traced back to 1963, with the Honda T360, a kei car truck built for the Japanese

  • market. This was followed by the two-door roadster, the Honda S500 also introduced in

  • 1963. In 1965, Honda built a two-door commercial delivery van, called the Honda L700. Honda's

  • first four-door sedan was not the Accord, but the air-cooled, four-cylinder, gasoline-powered

  • Honda 1300 in 1969. The Civic was a hatchback that gained wide popularity internationally,

  • but it wasn't the first two-door hatchback built. That was the Honda N360, another Kei

  • car that was adapted for international sale as the N600. The Civic, which appeared in

  • 1972 and replaced the N600 also had a smaller sibling that replaced the air-cooled N360,

  • called the Honda Life that was water-cooled. The Honda Life represented Honda's efforts

  • in competing in the kei car segment, offering sedan, delivery van and small pick-up platforms

  • on a shared chassis. The Life StepVan had a novel approach that, while not initially

  • a commercial success, appears to be an influence in vehicles with the front passengers sitting

  • behind the engine, a large cargo area with a flat roof and a liftgate installed in back,

  • and utilizing a transversely installed engine with a front-wheel-drive powertrain.

  • As Honda entered into automobile manufacturing in the late 1960s, where Japanese manufacturers

  • such as Toyota and Nissan had been making cars since before WWII, it appears that Honda

  • instilled a sense of doing things a little differently than its Japanese competitors.

  • Its mainstay products, like the Accord and Civic, have always employed front-wheel-drive

  • powertrain implementation, which is currently a long held Honda tradition. Honda also installed

  • new technologies into their products, first as optional equipment, then later standard,

  • like anti lock brakes, speed sensitive power steering, and multi-port fuel injection in

  • the early 1980s. This desire to be the first to try new approaches is evident with the

  • creation of the first Japanese luxury chain Acura, and was also evident with the all aluminum,

  • mid-engined sports car, the Honda NSX, which also introduced variable valve timing technology,

  • Honda calls VTEC. The Civic is a line of compact cars developed

  • and manufactured by Honda. In North America, the Civic is the second-longest continuously

  • running nameplate from a Japanese manufacturer; only its perennial rival, the Toyota Corolla,

  • introduced in 1968, has been in production longer. The Civic, along with the Accord and

  • Prelude, comprised Honda's vehicles sold in North America until the 1990s, when the model

  • lineup was expanded. Having gone through several generational changes, the Civic has become

  • larger and more upmarket, and it currently slots between the Fit and Accord.

  • Honda produces Civic hybrid, a hybrid electric vehicle that competes with the Toyota Prius,

  • and also produces the Insight and CR-Z. In 2008, Honda increased global production

  • to meet demand for small cars and hybrids in the U.S. and emerging markets. The company

  • shuffled U.S. production to keep factories busy and boost car output, while building

  • fewer minivans and sport utility vehicles as light truck sales fell.

  • Its first entrance into the pickup segment, the light duty Ridgeline, won Truck of the

  • Year from Motor Trend magazine in 2006. Also in 2006, the redesigned Civic won Car of the

  • Year from the magazine, giving Honda a rare double win of Motor Trend honors.

  • It is reported that Honda plans to increase hybrid sales in Japan to more than 20% of

  • its total sales in fiscal year 2011, from 14.8% in previous year.

  • Five of United States Environmental Protection Agency's top ten most fuel-efficient cars

  • from 1984 to 2010 comes from Honda, more than any other automakers. The five models are:

  • 2000–2006 Honda Insight, 1986–1987 Honda Civic Coupe HF, 1994–1995 Honda Civic hatchback

  • VX, 2006– Honda Civic Hybrid, and 2010– Honda Insight. The ACEEE has also rated the

  • Civic GX as the greenest car in America for seven consecutive years.

  • Motorcycles

  • Honda is the largest motorcycle manufacturer in Japan and has been since it started production

  • in 1955. At its peak in 1982, Honda manufactured almost three million motorcycles annually.

  • By 2006 this figure had reduced to around 550,000 but was still higher than its three

  • domestic competitors. During the 1960s, when it was a small manufacturer,

  • Honda broke out of the Japanese motorcycle market and began exporting to the U.S. Working

  • with the advertising agency Grey Advertising, Honda created an innovative marketing campaign,

  • using the slogan "You meet the nicest people on a Honda." In contrast to the prevailing

  • negative stereotypes of motorcyclists in America as tough, antisocial rebels, this campaign

  • suggested that Honda motorcycles were made for the everyman. The campaign was hugely

  • successful; the ads ran for three years, and by the end of 1963 alone, Honda had sold 90,000

  • motorcycles. Taking Honda's story as an archetype of the

  • smaller manufacturer entering a new market already occupied by highly dominant competitors,

  • the story of their market entry, and their subsequent huge success in the U.S. and around

  • the world, has been the subject of some academic controversy. Competing explanations have been

  • advanced to explain Honda's strategy and the reasons for their success.

  • The first of these explanations was put forward when, in 1975, Boston Consulting Group was

  • commissioned by the UK government to write a report explaining why and how the British

  • motorcycle industry had been out-competed by its Japanese competitors. The report concluded

  • that the Japanese firms, including Honda, had sought a very high scale of production

  • in order to benefit from economies of scale and learning curve effects. It blamed the

  • decline of the British motorcycle industry on the failure of British managers to invest

  • enough in their businesses to profit from economies of scale and scope.

  • The second explanation was offered in 1984 by Richard Pascale, who had interviewed the

  • Honda executives responsible for the firm's entry into the U.S. market. As opposed to

  • the tightly focused strategy of low cost and high scale that BCG accredited to Honda, Pascale

  • found that their entry into the U.S. market was a story of "miscalculation, serendipity,

  • and organizational learning" – in other words, Honda's success was due to the adaptability

  • and hard work of its staff, rather than any long term strategy. For example, Honda's initial

  • plan on entering the US was to compete in large motorcycles, around 300 cc. Honda's

  • motorcycles in this class suffered performance and reliability problems when ridden the relatively

  • long distances of the US highways. When the team found that the scooters they were using

  • to get themselves around their U.S. base of San Francisco attracted positive interest

  • from consumers that they fell back on selling the Super Cub instead.

  • The most recent school of thought on Honda's strategy was put forward by Gary Hamel and

  • C. K. Prahalad in 1989. Creating the concept of core competencies with Honda as an example,

  • they argued that Honda's success was due to its focus on leadership in the technology

  • of internal combustion engines. For example, the high power-to-weight ratio engines Honda

  • produced for its racing bikes provided technology and expertise which was transferable into

  • mopeds. Honda's entry into the U.S. motorcycle market during the 1960s is used as a case

  • study for teaching introductory strategy at business schools worldwide.

  • Power equipment Production started in 1953 with H-type engine.

  • Honda power equipment reached record sales in 2007 with 6.4 million units. By 2010 this

  • figure had decreased to 4,7 million units. Cumulative production of power products has

  • exceeded 85 million units. Honda power equipment includes:

  • Engines

  • Honda engines powered the entire 33-car starting field of the 2010 Indianapolis 500 and for

  • the fifth consecutive race, there were no engine-related retirements during the running

  • of the Memorial Day Classic. Honda, despite being known as an engine company,

  • has never built a V8 for passenger vehicles. In the late 1990s, the company resisted considerable

  • pressure from its American dealers for a V8 engine, with American Honda reportedly sending

  • one dealer a shipment of V8 beverages to silence them. Honda considered starting V8 production

  • in the mid-2000s for larger Acura sedans, a new version of the high end NSX sports car

  • and possible future ventures into the American full-size truck and SUV segment for both the

  • Acura and Honda brands, but this was cancelled in late 2008, with Honda citing environmental

  • and worldwide economic conditions as reasons for the termination of this project.

  • Robots

  • ASIMO is the part of Honda's Research & Development robotics program. It is the eleventh in a

  • line of successive builds starting in 1986 with Honda E0 moving through the ensuing Honda

  • E series and the Honda P series. Weighing 54 kilograms and standing 130 centimeters

  • tall, ASIMO resembles a small astronaut wearing a backpack, and can walk on two feet in a

  • manner resembling human locomotion, at up tokm/h. ASIMO is the world's only humanoid

  • robot able to ascend and descend stairs independently. However, human motions such as climbing stairs

  • are difficult to mimic with a machine, which ASIMO has demonstrated by taking two plunges

  • off a staircase. Honda's robot ASIMO as an R&D project brings

  • together expertise to create a robot that walks, dances and navigates steps. 2010 marks

  • the year Honda has developed a machine capable of reading a user's brainwaves to move ASIMO.

  • The system uses a helmet covered with electroencephalography and near-infrared spectroscopy sensors that

  • monitor electrical brainwaves and cerebral blood flowsignals that alter slightly during

  • the human thought process. The user thinks of one of a limited number of gestures it

  • wants from the robot, which has been fitted with a Brain Machine Interface.

  • Aircraft

  • Honda has also pioneered new technology in its HA-420 HondaJet, manufactured by its subsidiary

  • Honda Aircraft Company, which allows new levels of reduced drag, increased aerodynamics and