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 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.
Honda’s founder, Soichiro Honda 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 Shichiro, Honda founded Tōkai 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, Honda was able, by 1941, to mass produce piston rings acceptable to Toyota, using an automated process that could employ even unskilled wartime laborers.
Honda’s global lineup consists of the Fit, Civic, Accord, Insight, CR-V, 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 Acura TL luxury sedan and the Ridge-line, Honda’s first light-duty uni-body pickup truck. Both were designed and engineered primarily in North America and are exclusively produced and sold there. Other examples of exclusive models to international markets include the Honda Civic five-door sedan sold in Europe that has almost no visual similarities to the North American or Asian versions.
2013 Honda Odyssey Picture Gallery
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