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Is Honda a Japanese Car Company?

Over the course of centuries, Japan earned a reputation for expertly blending modernity and tradition. Honda is a car company well known for producing a number of vehicles. Dirt bikes, ATVs, motorcycles, and automobiles––even power products like tillers and generators––from Honda Motor Company are made with a certain level of attention to detail.

For this reason, Honda is a trusted global brand. Millions of Honda Accords were built on US soil in the Marysville, OH factory. Now, the Honda CR-V SUV is produced in that same factory, according to The Detroit News. But where did Honda come from? It’s a Japanese car company, right?

Honda motorcycles

Before it even dipped a toe in the auto market, Honda motorcycles hit the scene. In 1948, Honda Motor Co. Ltd. was first established by Japanese co-founders Soichiro Honda and Takeo Fujisawa. Production began with bicycles in a small factory in Hamamatsu. Then, a year later in 1949, the first original Honda-engineered product debuted. The Honda “Dream” or D-type motorcycle hit the market and met enough success to propel the Japanese car company forward.

A few years later, Honda entered its first Isle of Man motorcycle race in 1954. Then in 1958, the Super Cub scooter released. The Honda Super Cub remains one of Honda’s most successful two-wheeled endeavors, especially as a city commuter.

1966 Honda Super Cub C50
1966 Honda Super Cub C50 | Honda

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Honda in America

In 1959, Honda made its way to the American automotive market. On June 11, American Honda Motor Company Inc. established in LA, California. This became the Japanese car company’s first overseas subsidiary. However, it was still a few more years until Honda’s first actual car hit the market.

A Honda logo on a wall
Honda | LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP via Getty Images

So, Honda kept crushing out motorcycles. The Japanese car company also organized a program for at-risk American youth. The National Youth Project began in 1969 and combined the fun of Honda minibikes with positivity. Before that, in 1961, Honda made global history. That year, the motorcycle manufacturer dominated the Isle of Man race. Honda took five top spots in both the 125 cc and 250 cc classes.

a silver seventh gen Honda Accord driving on a scenic road
2006 Honda Accord | Honda Media

The Honda Accord changed everything

On the Honda website when they touch on the history of the accord, a large quote headlines the text: “all of Honda is in Accord.” It’s a play on words that makes a huge statement. The Honda Accord was Honda’s first car ever. In 1976, the little Accord hatchback released and was a massive hit. Due to the success of the hatch, Honda soon released a Honda Accord sedan to follow suit in 1979.

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R—e—l—a—x (Sound On)

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Honda reports that “from launch to present” the Honda Accord is the best selling passenger car in America. Apparently, there have been at least 12.5 million units sold in America. Today, the Accord is still a very popular choice. It’s a reliable commuter car. Plus, it gets great gas mileage and comes in a wide range of trim levels.

The Honda Accord was the first model by a Japanese car company. Starting in 1982, American Honda Motor Company manufactured the Accord in the Marysville, OH factory. Today, the factory has adjusted to produce the Honda CR-V crossover SUV.

a red 2018 Honda Accord sedan on a winding scenic road is a primary example of the successful engineering by this car company
2018 Honda Accord | Honda

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Is Acura owned by Honda?

Honda launched Acura in 1986. As much success as Honda had seen at this point, a new segment was the logical next step. Consequently, Acura became the first luxury segment from a Japanese car company.

2020 Acura RDX
2020 Acura RDX

After that, Acura’s “precision crafted performance” won 4 consecutive J.D. Power awards for its impressive Customer Satisfaction Index. Moreover, sales of Acura were strong. Today, the Acura nameplate remains a part of the Honda brand.

Gold 2021 Acura TLX Type S on a track, front view
2021 Acura TLX Type S front | Acura

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The Japanese car company is still crushing it in America

In 1999, the Honda Insight entering the US market as the first hybrid in America. Then, in 2009, the Japanese car company celebrated its 50th anniversary of American Honda. Then more recently in 2018, Honda Accord won the North American Car of the Year award for its 10th generation. Today, Honda is one of the most trusted brands in America. People and their families continue to buy models from American Honda Motor Company with no end in sight.