Achieving a milestone more than 65 years in the making, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. today announced production of its 300-millionth motorcycle.
The milestone bike is a Honda Gold Wing produced at the company’s Kumamoto Factory in Japan. Honda will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the iconic Gold Wing in 2015.
Honda began mass production of motorcycles in Japan in 1949 when it built the Honda 98cc Dream Type-D. Today, Honda produces motorcycles, ATVs and side-by-sides at 32 plants in 22 countries, including two plants in North America.
“This incredible milestone is the result of the millions of customers who have placed their trust in Honda and we would like to thank all of our customers, associates, dealers and community partners in North America for helping make it possible,” said Bob Gurga, Vice President and Manager of Motorcycle Division for American Honda. “Now, we are focused on the future and the ways that we can harness the challenging spirit of Honda associates to create new joy for Honda customers.”
In 1958, Honda introduced the Honda 50, known globally as the Super Cub, which would go on to revolutionize the industry. This iconic bike paved the way for Honda’s expansion into the U.S. in 1959 and Canada in 1969. The Super Cub, which has sold nearly 90 million units globally since its inception, was the focus of a mid-1960s advertising campaign, ‘You Meet the Nicest People on a Honda, that played a major role in the transformation and growth of the U.S. motorcycle market.
In the 1960s, Honda became the best-selling motorcycle brand in the U.S. and the world, leading to the establishment of Honda of America Mfg. and the company’s first U.S. production facility, the Marysville Motorcycle Plant.
The plant, which opened on September 10, 1979 in Marysville, Ohio, produced both motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) until 2009. Production of ATVs has since shifted to Honda of South Carolina Mfg. (HSC) in Timmonsville, South Carolina.
Since the start of production in 1979, Honda has manufactured more than five million power sports products in North America using global and domestically sourced parts. Today, HSC manufactures FourTrax ATVs and Pioneer side-by-sides and engines, while the Honda plant in El Salto, Jalisco, Mexico, produces motorcycles.
Furthermore, the research and development of Honda ATVs and side-by-side vehicles for both local and global markets is now being led by a team of engineers at Honda R&D Americas – with Powersports R&D operations in Los Angeles, Ohio and South Carolina.
The successful startup of motorcycle production at Honda of America Mfg. in 1979 was soon followed by the auto production at the Marysville Auto Plant in 1982. Motorcycle production continued in Ohio until 2009 and planted the seeds of manufacturing expertise that has led to many Honda facilities across North America.
Today, Honda operates 17 major manufacturing facilities in North America, producing a wide range of Honda and Acura automobiles, automobile engines and transmissions, Honda all-terrain vehicles and side-by-sides, power equipment products and the HondaJet light jet.
Honda now employs more than 39,000 associates in its North American sales, R&D and manufacturing operations with the capacity to produce upwards of 4 million Honda products each year, including two Powersports plants producing motorcycles, ATVs and side-by-sides each year. In 2013, 94 percent of the Honda and Acura automobiles sold in the U.S. were produced in North America. Those plants manufacture 11 different models, including four passenger cars and seven light trucks. Honda also operates major research and development centers in the U.S. that fully design, develop and engineer many of the products Honda produces in North America. American Honda Motor Co., Inc. was established in 1959 and is the sole distributor of Honda motorcycles, scooters, ATVs and side-by-sides in the U.S. The American Honda Motorcycle Division is responsible for the sales, marketing, and operational activities for these products through authorized Honda dealers.
For more information on Honda products, go to powersports.honda.com.