American Honda Motor Co. turns 50

Company looks forward to next 50 years

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Jun. 11, 2009
Honda marked the 50th anniversary of business in the U.S. with a ceremony at American Honda Motor Co., Inc.’s headquarters in Torrance, Calif.

“On behalf of the tens of thousands of Honda associates in America, past and present, we offer our deepest thanks to our customers for placing their trust in Honda over the past 50 years,” says Tetsuo Iwamura, American Honda president chief executive officer. “Today, in the face of new challenges, including the preservation of our environment, we renew our commitment to exceed the expectations of our customers and society.”

American Honda was incorporated on June 11, 1959 as the first overseas subsidiary of parent company Honda Motor Co., Ltd. A team of associates led by Kihachiro Kawashima worked out of a small office in Los Angeles, Calif. to sign up U.S. motorcycle dealers to sell Honda’s Cub, Dream and Benly models. The fledgling network sold just over 1,700 in its first year.

In 1979, Honda became the first Japanese manufacturer to build motorcycles in the U.S. with a facility in Marysville, Ohio.

Honda's American operations began in this small storefront in L.A.

Today, Honda’s product lines include motorcycles, automobiles, ATVs, personal watercraft and power equipment. Moving forward, Iwamura says Honda will develop technologies that are cleaner and more energy efficient.

“Looking to the future, we are committed to advancing Honda’s legacy of environmental leadership to help address the twin challenges of global climate change and energy sustainability,” says Iwamura. “Along with a renewed focus on quality, we begin our next fifty years by accelerating our efforts to develop and deploy new technologies that put Honda at the forefront of this global challenge, to create a cleaner and more sustainable future for generations to come.”