Honda reached 70 years of motorcycle production in 2019 and achieved a significant milestone in December – producing its 400th million bike.
The company surfaced in 1946 when engineer Honda Soichiro created the Honda Technical Institute near Hamamatsu, Japan. The institute produced efficient internal combustion engines for bicycles to get around the country torn from WWII.
The institute incorporated as Honda Motor Company in 1948 and began producing motorcycles in 1949. The first bike it built was the 1949 Dream D-Type.
Honda would begin mass-producing motorcycles in 1963 within its first overseas production facility in Belgium. From there, the company would grow tremendously; to date, Honda has 35 facilities in 21 countries and produces motorcycles ranging from 50cc commuters to 1800cc Gold Wings.
Honda says since its foundation, it has developed and provided products that meet the needs of customers in many countries and regions, based on its belief that “the purpose of technology is to help people.”
Honda reached its 100th million milestone in 1997, and its 300th million in 2014. In 2018 alone, the Japanese manufacturer produced over 20 million motorcycles and followed this up with its 2019 400th million production motorcycle.
In 2019, the company had continued to cater to all ends of the motorcycle industry, from the high-performance CBR1000RR SP and CRF450X to Gold Wing tourer to the unique urban machines like the Super Cub C125 and Grom.
Honda says it will strive to realize is 2030 vision, to serve people worldwide with the “joy of expanding their life’s potential.”
“For 70 years, Honda has provided to customers worldwide motorcycles that make life easier and enjoyable,” says Takahiro Hachigo, Chief Executive Officer, Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
“As a result, we have achieved our 400 million-unit milestone. I am grateful to all of our customers, and everyone involved in the development, manufacturing, sales, and service of our products. We will continue to do our best to provide attractive products that meet the needs and dreams of our customers worldwide.”
Honda’s Path to 400 Million Motorcycles Produced Globally
- 1948: Honda Motor Co., Ltd. founded
- 1949: Releases its first major motorcycle model, the Dream D-Type
- 1958: Releases its first Super Cub, the Super Cub C100
- 1963: Begins motorcycle production in Belgium (its first motorcycle factory outside of Japan)
- 1967: Begins motorcycle production in Thailand
- 1968: Reaches 10 million-unit milestone for cumulative global motorcycle production
- 1971: Begins motorcycle production in Indonesia
- 1976: Begins motorcycle production in Brazil; Honda begins motorcycle production in Italy
- 1979: Begins motorcycle production in North America
- 1980: Begins motorcycle production in Nigeria
- 1984 Reaches 50 million-unit milestone for cumulative global motorcycle production
- 1992: Begins motorcycle production in China
- 1997: Begins motorcycle production in Vietnam; Honda reaches 100 million-unit milestone for cumulative global motorcycle production (achieved in 48 years)
- 2001: Begins motorcycle production in India
- 2004 Exceeds 10 million-unit annual motorcycle production for the first time
- 2008: Reaches 200 million-unit milestone for cumulative global motorcycle production; (11 years since 100 millionth unit)
- 2013: Begins motorcycle production in Bangladesh
- 2014: Reaches 300 million-unit milestone for cumulative global motorcycle production; (6 years since 200 millionth unit)
- 2018: Exceeds 20 million-unit annual motorcycle production for the first time
- 2019: Reaches 400 million-unit milestone for cumulative global motorcycle production; (5 years since 300 millionth unit)