The story of the Honda motorcycle brand is a story of triumph over adversity. The motorcycle manufacturing giant was founded in the 1940s post-war Japan during a period of economic uncertainty in the country. Japan, a former theatre of war, was struggling to rehabilitate and rebuild herself from the damage occasioned by the Second World War. The founder, Soichiro Honda, who actually never graduated from engineering school, initially worked as a mechanic in the Art Shokai garage before embarking on the manufacturing of piston rings for Toyota. He later switched his energy and focus to the production of cost-effective and pocket-friendly motorcycles. His passion for engineering and his enduring nature to build this motorcycle brand to what it is today is reflective of the strong will and spirit of the Japanese people. Today, Honda is the leading motorcycle manufacturer in the world, a position it has held since 1959.
From Japan to the World.
By 1959, the Honda motorcycle brand was already a big hit in Japan. It became the World’s number one motorcycle manufacturer with about or slightly over half a million unit sales. The European market was gradually penetrated and in a short time, the Honda bike was winning road races across Europe which saw a boost in the European sales and introduction of new models to that market.
In America however, the story was totally different. It was a story of disappointment and systematic losses. The dynamics of this market were different and as such, a different approach was needed. In America, motorbikes were associated with crazed outlaws and rebels. The idea of a small, cost-effective and less dirty bike was alien. The social view on motorbikes and bikers had to be changed if this market was to be conquered. In doing so, Honda created a slogan which changed the company’s fortunes in the American market. “You meet the nicest people on a Honda”. This was purely a psychological campaign strategy which lasted for three years. The market was saturated with images of smiling ladies on cute Honda bikes and businessmen in suits riding around with big smiles on their faces. This effectively the public perception between “motorcycles” and “Hondas” with the latter gaining a greater advantage. The unit sales went over the roof, another story of triumph over adversity.
A leader, a champion.
Today, Honda is an industry leader, producing class-leading machines with spare parts readily available globally. Not only are Honda spares supplied worldwide but also are one of the most trusted and most sold. Genuine Honda spares are supplied by dealerships and Original Equipment Manufacturers. Honda has claimed several world championships which include six awards from the Motocross World Championship, eight titles from the World Enduro Championship and three championships with Eddy Lejeune, a Belgian rider. In 2007, Honda was the first manufacturer to come up with the idea of a motorcycle with an airbag crash protection. Honda’s success was not actually brought about by a strategic master plan but through undying, extremely hard work of the dedicated employees who up to date produce high-quality motorbikes which are still seen as sleek and stylish and have managed to earn the trust of their customers worldwide.