It may only have been the third foreign company to set down roots in the United States, but it takes credit for having manufactured the best-selling vehicle in automotive history, the Super Cub C100 scooter.
It was also the first Japanese auto company to launch a separate luxury line of vehicles known as the Acura range. Acura competes with Lexus in the United States and Canada, and amid skepticism from European manufacturers at the time of its launch, the brand continues to be successful with plans for expansion into China, Mexico and Russia.
Today, the name Honda is associated with more than just cars and motorcycles; besides the roaring trade it does with its engines, Honda also a world-class manufacturer of mobile phones and computers, gardening machinery, scooters, jet engines, jet skis, outboard engines, trucks and electric generators.
Honda HQ is in Japan, and it also has bases in the United States and Canada. It has also extended its global reach by engaging in joint ventures with other super industrial nations, India and China. Honda employs about 170,000 people in their plants all over the world including countries like Turkey, Argentina, Brazil and Vietnam.
Honda's success is no accident: founder Soichiro Honda went into the business with the belief that well-engineered machines will sell themselves. The story of Honda's rise despite almost insurmountable odds is the stuff of bestsellers, so much so that it's used as a case study in business education institutions all over the world. Soichiro Honda began his career as a developer of pistons.
He later sold to Toyota from his factory, but during the Second World War, his facilities were flattened by the ravages of battle. Although Japan was a nation destroyed, Honda and his team recognized the need to basic, cheap transportation and sought to solve this problem by fixing a motor onto a bicycle.
The basic concept for the scooter was born. Honda's company became official in Japan in 1948, and eleven years later, the C100 Super Cub hit the American market, going on to make history as the vehicle with the most units ever sold.
Everyone who knows what a car looks like knows the name Honda because for every kind of driver there might be, there's a Honda to meet those needs. Whether it's a family car like the Fit or a low-slung sports machine like the S2000, their cars are reputed as safe and reliable while being on the cutting edge of technology and design as the automotive industry evolves.
The Honda Racing Corporation has a huge following in the world of motorcycle competition, and an even bigger fan base keeps an eye on its motocross endeavors. Those following the F1 can expect a return to the tracks around the world with the taking over the British American team two years ago.
Besides building some of the world's best cars, the story of Honda is also a lesson in perseverance, initiative and what can be achieved when you combine those two with plenty of hard work. The results are truly inspiring, so much so that they're teaching future business leaders to take the same approach almost 50 years later.