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Honda Company Information
Honda, is a Japanese engine manufacturer and engineering corporation. The company is perhaps most notable for its automobiles and motorcycles, but it also produces a long list of other products: trucks, scooters, robots, jets and jet engines, ATV, water craft, electrical generators, marine engines, lawn and garden equipment, and aeronautical and other mobile technologies. Honda's high-end line of cars are branded Acura in North America and China.
Soichiro Honda was a mechanic who, after working at Art Shokai, developed his own design for piston rings in 1938. He attempted to sell them to Toyota who did not reject his first design like believed. He constructed a new facility to supply Toyota, but soon after, during World War II, the Honda piston manufacturing facilities were almost completely destroyed.
Soichiro Honda created a new company with what he had left in the Japanese market that was decimated by World War II; his country was starved of money and fuel, but still in need of basic transportation. Honda, utilizing his manufacturing facilities, attached an engine to a bicycle which created a cheap and efficient transport. He gave his company the name Honda Giken Kōgyō Kabushiki Kaisha which translates to Honda Research Institute Company Ltd. Despite its grandiose name, the first facility bearing that name was a simple wooden shack where Mr. Honda and his associates would fit the engines to bicycles. The official Japanese name for Honda Motor Company Ltd. remains the same in honor of Soichiro Honda's efforts. On 24 September 1948 the Honda Motor Co. was officially founded in Japan.
Honda began developing prototypes for road cars in the early 1960s, mostly intended for the Japanese market. The first production vehicle by Honda was the 1963 T360, a tiny pickup truck featuring 4 different body styles (including a traditional truck bed and a panel van) and a 360cc, 30hp engine. This was followed two months later by Honda's first production automobile, the S500. The S500 was a 2 door roadster featuring a 492cc engine capable of 44 hp with a high 9,500 RPM redline. It was fitted to a 4-speed transmission with the rear wheels being chain driven. Mr. Honda took his extensive knowledge of motorcycles and applied it to making his car, of which the chain drive and high redline are evidence.
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 1973 energy crisis was impacting worldwide economies. New emissions laws in the US, requiring American car makers to add expensive smog pumps and catalytic converters to engines, increased car prices. However, Honda's introduction of the 1975 Civic CVCC, (Compound Vortex-Controlled Combustion) being a variation on the stratified charge engine. This allowed the Civic to pass emissions tests without a catalytic converter, and also provided it with the lowest fuel consumption per given displacement due to its more complete combustion. American companies were slow to begin producing small, fuel efficient cars, which gave the Honda Civic a chance to sell well, as well as prove Honda's reputation for reliability and further expand its customer loyalty.
In 1976, the new, larger-than-the-Civic Accord was immediately popular because of its value, 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. 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. The very first model was the Acura Legend, with a 2.5 liter engine producing 151 horsepower. European luxury-car manufacturers initially scoffed at the thought of a luxury company from Japan, with criticism coming mostly from Mercedes-Benz.
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" camshaft 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.