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Honda Civic Hybrid
Honda CR-X del Sol
Honda Step Wagon
In 1922, Soichiro Honda opened a garage in Tokyo. He founded the Honda Motor Company in 1948 and started the production of motorcycles. At the 1962 Tokyo Motor Show, Honda presented the prototypes of a small sports car named the S360 and S500. Production of the small T360 pickup and the S500 roadster was begun in 1963.
Presently, the Honda Motor Company has production facilities in Japan, USA, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Great Britain, Turkey, India, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Pakistan. Worldwide production for 2003 totaled 2,968,316 (including Acura) passenger cars and utility vehicles.
In September 24, 1948 the Honda Motor Co. was founded. Soichiro Honda took advantage of a gap in the Japanese market that was 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 a cheap and efficient transport.
The Honda piston manufacturing facilities were almost completely destroyed. Soichiro Honda created a new company with what he had left, giving it the name "Honda Giken Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha" which translates to "Honda Research Institute Co. Ltd." Despite its grandiose name, the first facility bearing that name was a simple wooden shack where Mr. Honda and associates would fit engines to bicycles. Interestingly, the official Japanese name for Honda Motor Co. Ltd. remains the same, in honor of Soichiro Honda's efforts. in 1958 the American Honda Co. was founded.
Honda began to produce a range of scooters and motorcycles and Soichiro Honda quickly recovered from the losses incurred during the war. 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, 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 Civicólarger than their previous models, but still small compared to the typical American carójust 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, increased car 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 four plants located in Ohio: 2 in Marysville (the Marysville Auto Plant and the Marysville Motorcycle Plant), Anna, and East Liberty. They also have plants in Lincoln, Alabama (Honda Manufacturing of Alabama), and Timmonsville, South Carolina, and have recently (2006) opened a new plant in Tallapoosa, Georgia. Honda also has an extensive after market parts operation located in Marysville, Ohio, and a Research and Development facility in Raymond, Ohio. Honda's North American and U.S. headquarters are located in Torrance, California. Honda's Canadian and many US-market Civics are manufactured in their plant in Alliston, Ontario since 1985. On June 27, 2006, Honda announced that another manufacturing facility will be opening in North America, this time in Greensburg, Indiana. Its completion is expected in 2008.
Honda was 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 1989 Honda launched their VTEC variable valve timing system in its production 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 load. Normal driving would use a "shorter" cam lobe that resulted in more efficient operation. A more aggressive, longer duration, cam engages when engine RPM reaches a set point resulting in more power during hard acceleration.
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 and S2000, 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.