Although Honda’s history dates back to 1948 when Soichiro Honda established the Honda Motor Company, their entry into the North American automobile market did not start until the 1970’s. With a fuel shortage in progress, the timing couldn’t be more right for Honda to introduce an affordable and fuel efficient small car onto the oil price-shocked North American market.
Here is a chronological journey through some of the important events in the life of the Honda Motor Company in North America.
1972 – Honda sells its first car in North America. The Honda Civic makes its first showing in the United States.
1978 – The Honda Prelude is introduced to the North American market. The Prelude was Honda’s first attempt at a ‘sports car’. The coupe was popular until its demise after the 2001 model.
1982 – The Honda Accord arrives. The Accord represents the first time ever a Japanese car is built in the United States. Honda’s brand new Marysville, Ohio assembly plant becomes the birth place of the legendary Accord.
1983 – Honda brings out the CR-X, a two-seater plopped on the Civic platform. The CR-X HF (High Fuel economy) model is the first mass produced 4 cylinder car in history to push mileage over 50 miles per gallon.
1986 – Honda branches out with the Acura line of vehicles.
1988 – Honda innovates with the VTEC engine. It’s the VTEC technology that allows Honda to produce the first normally aspirated engine to pump out over 100 horsepower per litre of engine size.
1989 – In an odd twist, the Marysville, Ohio plant starts production of Honda Accords with right hand drive for export to Japan.
1990 – The first ‘exotic’ sports car in the Honda/Acura portfolio is introduced in the form of the Acura NSX.
1995 – The Honda Civic Sedancomes out with the first gas powered vehicle to comply with California’s Low-Emission Vehicle (LEV) standard. By 1999, Honda is the first car manufacturer to sell LEV compliant vehicles in all 50 states of the USA.
2000 – The S2000 sports car is introduced to the North American market. The two-seater, in the style of the Mazda Miata has a rocket for an engine that produces 240 horsepower.
2003 – The 10 millionth Honda vehicle produced in the United States is driven off the assembly line. In the same year, the Honda Pilot is introduced as Honda’s first full-size SUV and is an industry leader today.
2006 – Honda brings the Ridgeline onto the market to compete in the mid-size/full-size sport utility truck category.