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Honda was founded in Tokyo in 1948 as a motor manufacturer for bicycles.
Today, the Japanese company is active in many fields.
In addition to automotive production, Honda produces motorcycles, geothermal heaters and marine engines, and is with an annual production of some 22 million engines the world's largest manufacturer of engines.
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The company founder Soichiro Honda sold his company to manufacture piston rings to Toyota, before starting in the same year and under his name the production of motorcycles in 1948.
Already in the first decade, the high sales figures made it possible that the motorcycles from 1959 on would enter the US market. The success was ground-breaking - in 1960, Honda exported to more than 50 countries approximately 165 000 motorcycles annually.
Only three companies were given the right to build automobiles according to a decision of the Japanese government of 1962. The development of the pick-up truck Honda T360 had already begun in 1958. The press was able to drive the Arakawa on a test track on the first release show in 1963. By the end of the sixties two successors, the T500 and TN360 were produced, which were sold mainly in Japan, but partly also in Australia. The first car from Honda appeared 1963: the Honda S500. The small sports car was presented to the European public near Koblenz, with the participation of the founder Honda riding on a steamboat.
Some impressive performances of the S500 in the motor sport followed - for example at the Spa-Sofia-Liège (Marathon de la Route) in 1963. With the establishment in the worldwide network, a successor to the S500, the S800 was presented in 1967 as a convertible, as well as a coupé in Germany and in the USA. Many decades later, in 1999, the company went back to its beginnings, with the sports car series Roadster S2000. The Honda S2000 helped the brand to break a world record - the gasoline engine has the highest litter capacity without turbocharging in a standard model. In addition, the car was elected in the "Car of the Year" for the "Engine of the Year" awards five times in a row.
The biggest motorcycle manufacturer in the world, Honda, won numerous titles in the Moto GP. Honda celebrated its debut in motorsports early. The Japanese manufacturer was successful in Formula 1 and Formula 2 as well.
The brand dominated there, mainly at the end of the eighties and beginning of the nineties. In Formula 1, Honda had received six World Championship titles by 2008. After a break since 2008 the company plans the re-entry after nine years this year.
Like other manufacturers and Japanese competitors such as Toyota (with Lexus) and Nissan (with Infiniti), the automotive producer Honda uses a further brand name for the production of special premium and sport models.
Acura, Honda's luxury segment has been located mainly outside Europe since its founding in 1986, in North America, Mexico, China and Russia.
Unlike European suppliers with their premium models, the high-priced models from Acura are offered independently of the core brand Honda. However, the production is not outsourced, the premium vehicles are based on the modular system of the main company.
In the upper league - similar to the models from Acura - it was the Honda Accord since 1976, which secured the entry of the enterprise into the middle class. Models such as as Vigor, Ascot, Rafaga, Torneo and Spirior enabled the upper class through further developments and were also distributed in Europe, already by their fourth generation. The Acura TSX was from 2008 to 2015 as a Honda Accord of the eighth generation in the middle class. Also, the Honda Legend was conceived as a sedan for the upper class. In 1985 the car was introduced in Germany, 1987 followed by a coupé version, which is more economical than equivalent equipped models of German brands. The Legend was for sale until 2012 and up until the fourth generation.
Honda is one of the few Japanese automakers and motorcycle makers who are independent and whose model range is not influenced by other investors or mergers.
In addition to the success in the segment of motorcycles and the import of automobiles, Honda later established a headquarter in Germany. With its founding in 2003, also a research department was opened there. The model profile currently includes the popular small car Honda Jazz, the compact class Civic and its model versions, the SUVs HR-V and CR-V and the sports car NSX 1. The Jazz, released for the first time in 1984, is sold internationally under the name Honda Fit. In 2011 the small car got a facelift. It is offered in the third generation and in three different equipment lines.
The Civic is also a long runner of Honda. The car of the compact class was presented for the first time in 1972 and is already built in the tenth generation and with a broad portfolio. Currently, the car is sold in the Civic X Edition, Civic Type R and Civic Type R as well as a sports coupé, in two versions of the Civic Sedan and as the Tourer in six versions in Germany. The SUVs HR-V, available in three versions and CR-V offered in five equipment versions, completing the production range.
The NSX, a sporty two-seater with mid-engine, celebrated its debut as an Acura model at the end of the eighties and is now offered in its second generation.