The Honda Motor Co Ltd is recognised internationally as being one of the leading manufacturers of automobiles, motorcycles and power equipment in the world.
From the start of operations in 1948, Honda has followed a corporate policy that stresses originality and innovation in every facet of its activities, from product development to manufacturing and marketing, Honda has striven to attain its goal of satisfying its customers, wherever they may be. Honda is named after the founder, Soichiro Honda, who was born the son of a blacksmith in 1906 in a village near Hamamatsu City. Soichiro Honda was intrigued with mechanical technology from an early age and dreamed that one day he would make his own car to travel in.
His first step in this direction came when he moved to Tokyo after finishing school and began working in a small auto repair shop. In 1946 he established the Honda Technical Research Institute which became the forerunner of Honda today.
In the lean years just after the war when both materials and gasoline supplies were limited, Soichiro Honda managed to procure 500 war surplus engines which he used to build simple motorised bicycles. The year after the establishment of Honda Technical Institute, the production of the first A type auxiliary engine for bicycles was started.
Based on the success of the Honda Technical Institute, the Honda Motor Co Ltd was established with a capital of one million yen. The first real motorcycle was manufactured in the next year of business and Soichiro Honda named it the Honda 'Dream', as this name best reflected his dream of a future of limitless growth for the company. The philosophy of the 'Dream' is still alive in today in Honda products.
At the ninth annual Tokyo Motor Show in 1962, Honda introduced the S360 prototype sports car, which was commercially marketed in 1963 as the S500 with a larger displacement 531cc DOHC engine. From these beginnings, automobiles now account for approximately 80% of Honda's business today.