Honda Motor Co., Ltd. is a Japanese manufacturer of automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, and scooters. They also make ATVs, water craft, electrical generators, marine engines, and lawn and garden equipment. With more than 14 million internal combustion engines built each year, Honda is the largest engine-maker in the world. In 2004, the company began to produce diesel motors, which were both very quiet whilst not requiring particulate filters to pass pollution standards. Honda's high-end line of cars are branded Acura in North America. Many Japanese automakers have well-earned reputations for dependability and longevity, with production being well quality-controlled. Honda automobiles have developed something of a cult status in terms of reliability, even above other Japanese brands, with many owners never having any major problems for the vehicle's life.
Honda is headquartered in Tokyo. Their shares trade on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, the New York Stock Exchange, as well as exchanges in Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo, Kyoto, Fukuoka, London, Paris and Switzerland. American Honda Motor Co., is based in Torrance, CA.
Soichiro Honda began by manufacturing piston rings in November 1937. He quickly became a sub-contractor to Toyota. Honda then expanded into other engine parts and even airscrews.
On September 24, 1948, Soichiro Honda took advantage of a gap in the Japanese market. Decimated by World War II, Japan was starved of money and fuel, but still in need of basic transport. Honda, utilizing his manufacturing facilities, attached an engine to a bicycle, creating the cheap and efficient transport that was required.
Honda quickly began to produce a range of scooters and motorcycles. By the late 1960s, Honda had conquered most world markets. The British were especially slow to respond to the Honda introduction of electric starters to motorcycles. By the 1970s, Honda was the largest producer of motorcycles in the world, a title it has never relinquished.
Honda began producing road cars in 1960, mostly intended for the Japanese market. Though participating in international motorsport (see Racing), Honda was having difficulty selling its automobiles in the United States. Built for Japanese buyers, Honda's small cars had failed to gain the interest of American buyers.
Honda finally established a foothold in the American market in 1972 with the introduction of the Civic?larger than their previous models, but still small compared to the typical American car?just as the 1970s energy crisis was impacting worldwide economies. New emissions laws in the US, requiring American car makers to affix expensive catalytic converters to exhaust systems (noticeably increasing sticker prices). However, Honda's introduction of the 1975 Civic CVCC, CVCC being a variation on the stratified charge engine, allowed the Civic to pass emissions tests without a catalytic converter.
In 1976, the Accord was immediately popular because of its economy and fun-to-drive nature; Honda had found its niche in the United States. In 1982, Honda was the first Japanese car manufacturer to build car plants in the US, starting with an Accord plant in Marysville, Ohio. They now have plants in Marysville, Anna, and East Liberty, as well as in Lincoln, Alabama (Honda Manufacturing of Alabama), and Timmonsville, South Carolina, and plan to open a new plant in Tallapoosa, Georgia. Honda's North American headquarters are located in Torrance, California.
Honda was also the first Japanese automaker to introduce a separate luxury line of vehicles. Created in 1986 and known as Acura, the line is made up of modified versions of Honda vehicles usually with more power and sportiness than their Honda counterparts.
In a move that was set to revolutionalize the way carmakers tuned their engines1989, Honda launched its VTEC variable valve timing system in its car engines, which gave improved efficiency and performance across a broader range of engine speeds. One of the first of its kind in passenger vehicles, it worked on the premise of tuning one engine to operate at two different 'settings' depending on speed. Low-speed driving would use a "shorter" cam lobe that resulted in more power and torque low down, but then a more aggressive "longer" cam during high-speeds for continued acceleration. The result was that the driver had the 'best of both worlds', and many automakers today have introduced their own versions of variable valve timing. The technology is now standard across the whole Honda range.
For the 2007 model year, Honda plans to improve the safety of its vehicles by providing front-seat side airbags, side-curtain airbags, and anti-lock brakes as standard equipment in all automobiles available in North America (except the Insight, S2000, and Acura NSX, which will not have side-curtain airbags). By 2006, Honda plans to have as standard equipment Vehicle Safety Assist and rollover sensors in all light trucks, including the CR-V, Odyssey, and Acura MDX. Honda also plans to make its vehicles safer for pedestrians, with more safely-designed hoods, hinges, frame constructs, and breakaway wiper pivots.
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