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(TYO: 7267) & (NYSE: HMC)
|Founded||24 September 1948|
|Headquarters||Minato, Tokyo, Japan|
|Key people||Takanobu Ito (President, CEO, & Representative Director)|
|Revenue||¥7.948 trillion (2012)|
|Operating income||¥231.36 billion (2012)|
|Net income||¥211.48 billion (2012)|
|Total assets||¥11.780 trillion (2012)|
|Total equity||¥4.402 trillion (2012)|
(TYO: 7267) & (NYSE: HMC)
|Founded||24 September 1948|
|Headquarters||Minato, Tokyo, Japan|
|Key people||Takanobu Ito (President, CEO, & Representative Director)|
|Revenue||¥7.948 trillion (2012)|
|Operating income||¥231.36 billion (2012)|
|Net income||¥211.48 billion (2012)|
|Total assets||¥11.780 trillion (2012)|
|Total equity||¥4.402 trillion (2012)|
Honda Motor Company, Ltd. (本田技研工業株式会社 Honda Giken Kōgyō KK, IPA: [honꜜda] ( listen); //) (TYO: 7267) is a Japanese public multinational corporation primarily known as a manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles.
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 surpassed Nissan in 2001 to become the second-largest Japanese automobile manufacturer. As of August 2008[update], Honda surpassed Chrysler as the fourth largest automobile manufacturer in the United States. Honda was the seventh largest automobile manufacturer in the world behind Toyota, General Motors, Volkswagen AG, Hyundai Motor Group, Ford, and Nissan in 2010.
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, scheduled to be released in 2012. Honda spends about 5% of its revenues into R&D.
|This section requires expansion. (April 2009)|
From a young age, Honda's founder, Soichiro Honda (本田 宗一郎, Honda Sōichirō) (17 November 1906 – 5 August 1991) 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 an acquaintance, Kato Shichirō, Honda founded Tōkai Seiki (Eastern Sea Precision Machine Company) 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, Honda was able, by 1941, 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 (called the Ministry of Munitions after 1943) 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 destroyed Tōkai 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 172-square-foot (16.0 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. The first complete motorcycle, both frame and engine, and 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 points 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. Honda in 1991 introduced the Honda NSX supercar, the first all-aluminum monocoque vehicle that incorporated a mid-engine V6 with variable-valve timing. Later, 1995 gave rise to the Honda Aircraft Company with the goal of producing jet aircraft under Honda's name.
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, Thailand, Turkey, Taiwan and Perú. 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
|Geographic Region||Total revenue (in millions of ¥)|
American Honda Motor Company is based in Torrance, California. 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.
With low fuel prices and a weak U.S. economy in June 2008, Honda reported a 1% sales increase while its rivals, including the Detroit Big Three and Toyota, have reported double-digit losses. Honda's sales were up almost 20 percent from the same month last year. The Civic and the Accord were in the top five list of sales. Analysts have attributed this to two main factors. First, Honda's product lineup consists of mostly small to mid-size, highly fuel-efficient vehicles. Secondly, over the last ten years, Honda has designed its factories to be flexible, in that they can be easily retooled to produce any Honda model that may be in-demand at the moment.
Nonetheless, Honda, Nissan, and Toyota, were still not immune to the global financial crisis of 2008, as these companies reduced their profitability forecasts. The economic crisis has been spreading to other important players in the vehicle related industries as well. In November 2009 the Nihon Keizai Shinbun reported that Honda Motor exports have fallen 64.1%.
At the 2008 Beijing Auto Show, Honda presented the Li Nian ("concept" or "idea") 5-door hatchback and announced that they were looking to develop an entry-level brand exclusively for the Chinese market similar to Toyota's Scion brand in the USA. The brand would be developed by a 50–50 joint-venture established in 2007 with Guangzhou Automobile Industry Group.
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.
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 feature 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 after World War II, where Japanese manufacturers such as Toyota and Nissan had heritage before the war, 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.
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 (53 mpg-US or 4.4 L/100 km; 64 mpg-imp combined), 1986–1987 Honda Civic Coupe HF (46 mpg-US or 5.1 L/100 km; 55 mpg-imp combined), 1994–1995 Honda Civic hatchback VX (43 mpg-US or 5.5 L/100 km; 52 mpg-imp combined), 2006– Honda Civic Hybrid (42 mpg-US or 5.6 L/100 km; 50 mpg-imp combined), and 2010– Honda Insight (41 mpg-US or 5.7 L/100 km; 49 mpg-imp combined). The ACEEE has also rated the Civic GX as the greenest car in America for seven consecutive years.
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 3 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 (BCG) 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 (they had made a large number of motorbikes) 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 U.S. was to compete in large motorcycles, around 300 cc. It was only 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 came up with the idea of selling the Super Cub.
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.
Production started in 1953 with H-type engine (prior to motorcycle).
Honda power equipment reached record sales in 2007 with 6,4 million units. By 2010 (Fiscal year ended 31 March) this figure had decreased to 4,7 million units. Cumulative production of power products has exceeded 85 million units (as of September 2008).
Honda power equipment includes:
|This section requires expansion. (April 2009)|
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 (which would have seen use in top-of-the-line Honda SUVs and Acuras), 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 (which previously used DOHC V6 engines with VTEC to achieve its high power output) 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.
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 to 6 km/h (3.7 mph). 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 (see below) 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 flow—signals 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.
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 fuel efficiency thus reducing operating costs.
Honda's solar cell subsidiary company Honda Soltec (Headquarters: Kikuchi-gun, Kumamoto; President and CEO: Akio Kazusa) started sales throughout Japan of thin-film solar cells for public and industrial use on 24 October 2008, after selling solar cells for residential use since October 2007.
Honda has also built a downhill racing bicycle known as the Honda RN-01. It is not available for sale to the public. The key feature of this bike is the gearbox, which replaces the standard derailleur found on most bikes.
Honda has hired several people to pilot the bike, among them Greg Minnaar. The team is known as Team G Cross Honda.
Honda also builds all-terrain vehicles (ATV).
Honda has been active in motorsports, like Motorcycle Grand Prix, Superbike racing and others.
Honda entered Formula One as a constructor for the first time in the 1964 season at the German Grand Prix with Ronnie Bucknum at the wheel. 1965 saw the addition of Richie Ginther to the team, who scored Honda's first point at the Belgian Grand Prix, and Honda's first win at the Mexican Grand Prix. 1967 saw their next win at the Italian Grand Prix with John Surtees as their driver. In 1968, Jo Schlesser was killed in a Honda RA302 at the French Grand Prix. This racing tragedy, coupled with their commercial difficulties selling automobiles in the United States, prompted Honda to withdraw from all international motorsport that year.
After a learning year in 1965, Honda-powered Brabhams dominated the 1966 French Formula Two championship in the hands of Jack Brabham and Denny Hulme. As there was no European Championship that season, this was the top F2 championship that year. In the early 1980s Honda returned to F2, supplying engines to Ron Tauranac's Ralt team. Tauranac had designed the Brabham cars for their earlier involvement. They were again extremely successful. In a related exercise, John Judd's Engine Developments company produced a turbo "Brabham-Honda" engine for use in IndyCar racing. It won only one race, in 1988 for Bobby Rahal at Pocono.
Honda returned to Formula One in 1983, initially with another Formula Two partner, the Spirit team, before switching abruptly to Williams in 1984. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Honda powered cars won six consecutive Formula One Constructors Championships. WilliamsF1 won the crown in 1986 and 1987. Honda switched allegiance again in 1988. New partners Team McLaren won the title in 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1991. Honda withdrew from Formula One at the end of 1992, although the related Mugen-Honda company maintained a presence up to the end of 1999, winning four races with Ligier and Jordan Grand Prix.
Honda debuted in the CART IndyCar World Series as a works supplier in 1994. The engines were far from competitive at first, but after development, the company powered six consecutive drivers championships. In 2003, Honda transferred its effort to the rival IRL IndyCar Series. In 2004, Honda-powered cars overwhelmingly dominated the IndyCar Series, winning 14 of 16 IndyCar races, including the Indianapolis 500, and claimed the IndyCar Series Manufacturers' Championship, Drivers' Championship and Rookie of the Year titles. In 2006, Honda became the sole engine supplier for the IndyCar Series, including the Indianapolis 500. In the 2006 Indianapolis 500, for the first time in Indianapolis 500 history, the race was run without a single engine problem.
During 1998, Honda considered returning to Formula One with their own team. The project was aborted after the death of its technical director, Harvey Postlethwaite. Honda instead came back as an official engine supplier to British American Racing (BAR) and Jordan Grand Prix. Honda bought a stake in the BAR team in 2004 before buying the team outright at the end of 2005, becoming a constructor for the first time since the 1960s. Honda won the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix with driver Jenson Button.
It was announced on 5 December 2008, that Honda would be exiting Formula One with immediate effect due to the 2008 global economic crisis. The team was sold to former team principal Ross Brawn, renamed Brawn GP and subsequently Mercedes GP.
Honda became an official works team in the British Touring Car Championship in 2010.
Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) was formed in 1982. The company combines participation in motorcycle races throughout the world with the development of high potential racing machines. Its racing activities are an important source for the creation of leading edge technologies used in the development of Honda motorcycles. HRC also contributes to the advancement of motorcycle sports through a range of activities that include sales of production racing motorcycles, support for satellite teams, and rider education programs.
Soichiro Honda, being a race driver himself, could not stay out of international motorsport. In 1959, Honda entered five motorcycles into the Isle of Man TT race, the most prestigious motorcycle race in the world. While always having powerful engines, it took until 1961 for Honda to tune their chassis well enough to allow Mike Hailwood to claim their first Grand Prix victories in the 125 and 250 cc classes. Hailwood would later pick up their first Senior TT wins in 1966 and 1967. Honda's race bikes were known for their "sleek & stylish design" and exotic engine configurations, such as the 5-cylinder, 22,000 rpm, 125 cc bike and their 6-cylinder 250 cc and 297 cc bikes.
In 1979, Honda returned to Grand Prix motorcycle racing with the monocoque-framed, four-stroke NR500. The FIM rules limited engines to four cylinders, so the NR500 featured non-circular, 'race-track', cylinders, each with 8 valves and two connecting rods, in order to provide sufficient valve area to compete with the dominant two-stroke racers. Unfortunately, it seemed Honda tried to accomplish too much at one time and the experiment failed. For the 1982 season, Honda debuted their first two-stroke race bike, the NS500 and in 1983, Honda won their first 500 cc Grand Prix World Championship with Freddie Spencer. Since then, Honda has become a dominant marque in motorcycle Grand Prix racing, winning a plethora of top level titles with riders such as Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi.
In the Motocross World Championship, Honda has claimed six world championships. In the World Enduro Championship, Honda has captured eight titles, most recently with Stefan Merriman in 2003 and with Mika Ahola from 2007 to 2010. In observed trials, Honda has claimed three world championships with Belgian rider Eddy Lejeune.
The Honda Civic GX is the only purpose-built natural gas vehicle (NGV) commercially available in some parts of the U.S. The Honda Civic GX first appeared in 1998 as a factory-modified Civic LX that had been designed to run exclusively on compressed natural gas. The car looks and drives just like a contemporary Honda Civic LX, but does not run on gasoline. In 2001, the Civic GX was rated the cleanest-burning internal combustion engine in the world by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
First leased to the City of Los Angeles, in 2005, Honda started offering the GX directly to the public through factory trained dealers certified to service the GX. Before that, only fleets were eligible to purchase a new Civic GX. In 2006, the Civic GX was released in New York, making it the second state where the consumer is able to buy the car. Home refueling is available for the GX with the addition of the Phill Home Refueling Appliance.
Honda's Brazilian subsidiary launched flexible-fuel versions for the Honda Civic and Honda Fit in late 2006. As others Brazilian flex-fuel vehicles, these models run on any blend of hydrous ethanol (E100) and E20-E25 gasoline. Initially, and in order to test the market preferences, the carmaker decided to produce a limited share of the vehicles with flex-fuel engines, 33 percent of the Civic production and 28 percent of the Fit models. Also, the sale price for the flex-fuel version was higher than the respective gasoline versions, around US$1,000 premium for the Civic, and US$650 for the Fit, despite the fact that all other flex-fuel vehicles sold in Brazil had the same tag price as their gasoline versions. In July 2009, Honda launched in the Brazilian market its third flexible-fuel car, the Honda City.
During the last two months of 2006, both flex-fuel models sold 2,427 cars against 8,546 gasoline-powered automobiles, jumping to 41,990 flex-fuel cars in 2007, and reaching 93,361 in 2008. Due to the success of the flex versions, by early 2009 a hundred percent of Honda's automobile production for the Brazilian market is now flexible-fuel, and only a small percentage of gasoline version is produced in Brazil for exports.
In March 2009, Honda launched in the Brazilian market the first flex-fuel motorcycle in the world. Produced by its Brazilian subsidiary Moto Honda da Amazônia, the CG 150 Titan Mix is sold for around US$2,700.
In late 1999, Honda launched the first commercial hybrid electric car sold in the U.S. market, the Honda Insight, just one month before the introduction of the Toyota Prius, and initially sold for US$20,000. The first-generation Insight was produced from 2000 to 2006 and had a fuel economy of 70 miles per US gallon (3.4 L/100 km; 84 mpg-imp) for the EPA's highway rating, the most fuel-efficient mass-produced car at the time. Total global sales for the Insight amounted to only around 18,000 vehicles.
Honda introduced the second-generation Insight in its home nation of Japan in February 2009, and released it in other markets through 2009 and in the U.S. market in April 2009. At $19,800 as a five-door hatchback it will be the least expensive hybrid available in the U.S. Honda expects to sell 200,000 of the vehicles each year, with half of those sales in the United States.
Since 2002, Honda has also been selling the Honda Civic Hybrid (2003 model) in the U.S. market,. It was followed by the Honda Accord Hybrid, offered in model years 2005 through 2007. Sales of the Honda CR-Z began in Japan in February 2010, becoming Honda's third hybrid electric car in the market.
In an interview in early February 2011, a Honda executive disclosed that Honda produces around 200,000 hybrids a year in Japan.
In Takanezawa, Japan, on 16 June 2008, Honda Motors produced the first assembly-line FCX Clarity, a hybrid hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. More efficient than a gas-electric hybrid vehicle, the FCX Clarity combines hydrogen and oxygen from ordinary air to generate electricity for an electric motor.
The vehicle itself does not emit any pollutants and its only by products are heat and water. The FCX Clarity also has an advantage over gas-electric hybrids in that it does not use an internal combustion engine to propel itself. Like a gas-electric hybrid, it uses a lithium ion battery to assist the fuel cell during acceleration and capture energy through regenerative braking, thus improving fuel efficiency. The lack of hydrogen filling stations throughout developed countries will keep production volumes low. Honda will release the vehicle in groups of 150. California is the only U.S. market with infrastructure for fueling such a vehicle, though the number of stations is still limited. Building more stations is expensive, as the California Air Resources Board (CARB) granted $6.8 million for four H2 fueling stations, costing $1.7 million USD each.
Starting in 1978, Honda in Japan decided to diversify their sales distribution channels, and created Honda Verno, which sold established products with a higher content of standard equipment and a more sporting nature. The establishment of Honda Verno coincided with its new sports compact, called the Honda Prelude. Later, the Honda Vigor, the Honda Ballade, and the Honda Quint were added to Honda Verno stores.
As sales progressed, Honda created two more sales channels, called Honda Clio in 1984, and Honda Primo in 1985. The Honda Clio chain sold products that were traditionally associated with Honda dealerships before 1978, like the Honda Accord, and Honda Primo sold the Honda Civic, kei cars, such as the Honda Today, superminis like the Honda Capa, along with other Honda products, such as farm equipment, lawn mowers, portable generators, marine equipment, motorcycles, and scooters. A styling tradition was established when Honda Primo and Clio began operations, in that all Verno products had the rear license plate installed in the rear bumper, while Primo and Clio products had the rear license plate installed on the trunk lid or rear door for minivans.
As time progressed and sales began to diminish partly due to the collapse of the Japanese "bubble economy", "supermini" and "kei" vehicles that were specific to Honda Primo were "badge engineered" and sold at the other two sales channels, thereby providing smaller vehicles that sold better at both Honda Verno and Honda Clio locations. As of March 2006, the three sales chains were discontinued, with the establishment of Honda Cars dealerships.
Honda sells genuine accessories through a separate retail chain called Honda Access for both their motorcycle, scooter and automobile products. In cooperation with corporate partner Pioneer, Honda sells an aftermarket line of audio and in-car navigation equipment that can be installed in any vehicle under the brand name Gathers, which is available at Honda Access locations as well as Japanese auto parts retailers, such as Autobacs. Buyers of used vehicles are directed to a specific Honda retail chain that sells only used vehicles called Honda Auto Terrace.
Honda Prelude, Honda Integra, Honda CR-X, Honda Vigor, Honda Saber, Honda Ballade, Honda Quint, Honda Crossroad, Honda Element, Honda NSX, Honda HR-V, Honda Mobilio Spike, Honda S2000, Honda CR-V, Honda That's, Honda MDX, Honda Rafaga, Honda Capa, and the Honda Torneo
Honda Accord, Honda Legend, Honda Inspire, Honda Avancier, Honda S-MX, Honda Lagreat, Honda Stepwgn, Honda Elysion, Honda Stream, Honda Odyssey (int'l), Honda Domani, Honda Concerto, Honda Accord Tourer, Honda Logo, Honda Fit, Honda Insight, Honda That's, Honda Mobilio, and the Honda City
Honda Civic, Honda Life, Honda Acty, Honda Vamos, Honda Hobio, Honda Ascot, Honda Ascot Innova, Honda Torneo, Honda Civic Ferio, Honda Freed, Honda Mobilio, Honda Orthia, Honda Capa, Honda Today, Honda Z, and the Honda Beat
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In 2003, Honda released its Cog advertisement in the UK and on the Internet. To make the ad, the engineers at Honda constructed a Rube Goldberg Machine made entirely out of car parts from a Honda Accord Touring. To the chagrin of the engineers at Honda, all the parts were taken from two of only six hand-assembled pre-production models of the Accord. The advertisement depicted a single cog which sets off a chain of events that ends with the Honda Accord moving and Garrison Keillor speaking the tagline, "Isn't it nice when things just... work?" It took 606 takes to get it perfect.
In 2004, they produced the Grrr advert, usually immediately followed by a shortened version of the 2005 Impossible Dream advert.
In December 2005, Honda released The Impossible Dream a two-minute panoramic advertisement filmed in New Zealand, Japan and Argentina which illustrates the founder's dream to build performance vehicles. While singing the song "Impossible Dream", a man reaches for his racing helmet, leaves his trailer on a minibike, then rides a succession of vintage Honda vehicles: a motorcycle, then a car, then a powerboat, then goes over a waterfall only to reappear piloting a hot air balloon, with Garrison Keillor saying "I couldn't have put it better myself" as the song ends. The song is from the 1960s musical Man Of La Mancha, sung by Andy Williams.
In 2006, Honda released its Choir advertisement, for the UK and the internet. This featured a 60-person choir who sang the car noises as film of the Honda Civic are shown.
In the mid to late 2000s in the United States, during model close-out sales for the current year before the start of the new model year, Honda's advertising has featured an animated character known simply as Mr. Opportunity, voiced by Rob Paulsen. The casual looking man talked about various deals offered by Honda and ended with the phrase "I'm Mr. Opportunity, and I'm knockin'", followed by him "knocking" on the television screen or "thumping" the speaker at the end of radio ads. In addition, commercials for Honda's international hatchback, the Jazz, are parodies of well-known pop culture images such as Tetris and Thomas The Tank Engine.
In late 2006, Honda released an ad with ASIMO exploring a museum, looking at the exhibits with almost childlike wonderment (spreading out its arms in the aerospace exhibit, waving hello to an astronaut suit that resembles him, etc.), while Garrison Keillor ruminates on progress. It concludes with the tagline: "More forwards please".
In May 2007, focuses on their strengths in racing and the use of the Red H badge – a symbol of what is termed as "Hondamentalism". The campaign highlights the lengths that Honda engineers go to in order to get the most out of an engine, whether it is for bikes, cars, powerboats – even lawnmowers. Honda released its Hondamentalism campaign. In the TV spot, Garrison Keillor says, "An engineer once said to build something great is like swimming in honey", while Honda engineers in white suits walk and run towards a great light, battling strong winds and flying debris, holding on to anything that will keep them from being blown away. Finally one of the engineers walks towards a red light, his hand outstretched. A web address is shown for the Hondamentalism website. The digital campaign aims to show how visitors to the site share many of the Hondamentalist characteristics.
At the beginning of 2008, Honda released – the Problem Playground. The advert outlines Honda's environmental responsibility, demonstrating a hybrid engine, more efficient solar panels and the FCX Clarity, a hydrogen powered car. The 90 second advert features large scale puzzles, involving Rubik's Cubes, large shapes and a 3-dimensional puzzle.
On 29 May 2008, Honda, in partnership with Channel 4, broadcast a live advertisement. It showed skydivers jumping from an aeroplane over Spain and forming the letters H, O, N, D and A in mid-air. This live advertisement is generally agreed to be the first of its kind on British television. The advert lasted three minutes. The next flight of one of the two planes involved resulted in a fatal crash as the plane broke apart in mid-air.
In 2009, American Honda released the Dream the Impossible documentary series, a collection of 5–8 minute web vignettes that focus on the core philosophies of Honda. Current short films include Failure: The Secret to Success, Kick Out the Ladder and Mobility 2088. They feature Honda employees as well as Danica Patrick, Christopher Guest, Ben Bova, Chee Pearlman, Joe Johnston and Orson Scott Card. The film series plays at dreams.honda.com.
In Australia, Honda advertised heavily during most motor racing telecasts, and was the official sponsor of the 2006 FIA Formula 1 telecast on broadcaster channel "Ten". In fact, it was the only manufacturer involved in the 2006 Indy Racing League season. In a series of adverts promoting the history of Honda's racing heritage, Honda claimed it "built" cars that won 72 Formula 1 Grand Prix. Skeptics[who?] have accused Honda of interpreting its racing history rather liberally, saying that virtually all of the 72 victories were achieved by Honda powered (engined) machines, whereas the cars themselves were designed and built by Lotus F1, Williams F1, and McLaren F1 teams, respectively. However, former and current staff of the McLaren F1 team have reiterated that Honda contributed more than just engines and provided various chassis, tooling, and aerodynamic parts as well as funding. .
The late F1 driver Ayrton Senna stated that Honda probably played the most significant role in his three world championships. He had immense respect for founder, Soichiro Honda, and had a good relationship with Nobuhiko Kawamoto, the chairman of Honda at that time. Senna once called Honda "the greatest company in the world".
As part of its marketing campaign, Honda is an official partner and sponsor of the National Hockey League, the Anaheim Ducks of the NHL, and the arena named after it: Honda Center. Honda also sponsors The Honda Classic golf tournament and is a sponsor of Major League Soccer. The "Honda Player of the Year" award is presented in United States soccer. The "Honda Sports Award" is given to the best female athlete in each of twelve college sports in the United States. One of the twelve Honda Sports Award winners is chosen to receive the Honda-Broderick Cup, as "Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year."
Honda has been a presenting sponsor of the Los Angeles Marathon since 2010 in a three-year sponsorship deal with winners of the LA Marathon receiving a free Honda Accord. Since 1989, the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge has been a quizbowl tournament for Historically black colleges and universities.
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