Honda Brand History


The history of the Honda brand is a storied one. From its humble beginnings in 1948 to its global presence and influence today, Honda Motor Company has always been a leader in innovation and technology. It’s why the team at Gates Honda is so pleased to provide Kentucky drivers with the finest selection of new and used Honda cars at our Richmond, KY Honda dealership. We understand the impact that Honda vehicles have had, and will continue to have, on the automotive industry.

The Honda Motor Company was founded in Japan by Soichiro Honda and Takeo Fujisawa in 1946, but was formally established as Honda Motor Co., Ltd. in 1948. Mr. Honda was interested in automobiles and motors from a very young age, so he made it his mission to learn everything there was to know about how they worked and how to make them more powerful and efficient. Starting with producing motorcycles, the Honda brand quickly gained a following of enthusiasts in Japan and was able to open its very first overseas store in Los Angeles, CA in 1959. Less than a decade later, the automaker was producing car models in Japan and had sold their millionth motorcycle in the United States, but it wasn’t until 1969 that Honda Motor Company would begin their journey as a leader in the automotive market.

With the introduction of the Honda N600 to the US market in 1968, the Honda brand changed what both Japanese and American automakers thought possible for a car. This little car was advanced for its time, but more importantly, it paved the way for one of the most popular vehicles on American roads even today: the Honda Civic. The first generation of the Honda Civic was introduced to the world in 1972 and quickly became a favorite of drivers due to its fuel efficiency and city-friendly size.

Then in 1974, the automaker began its long and lasting dedication towards protecting the environment by creating the groundbreaking CVCC engine, making the Honda Civic the first vehicle to meet the strict emissions standards of the U.S. Clean Air Act without the use of a catalytic converter. The effect of this can still be seen today in the Honda brand’s continual pursuit of clean energy sources and creation of low- or zero-emissions vehicles, like the Honda Clarity.

From this point on, the milestones just keep adding up. Two years later, in 1976, Honda Motor Company releases the Honda Accord, which from its initial launch to today is the best-selling passenger car* in America. Then in 1986, Honda becomes the first Japanese automaker to launch a luxury nameplate when it begins producing and selling Acura vehicles. The year 1990 sees the release of the highly-sought after supercar Acura NSX, while 1999 introduces the very first hybrid vehicle in North America, called the Honda Insight, which would remain the most fuel-efficient non-plugin car in its class for the next 17 years.

In 2009, Honda Motor Company celebrated its 50th anniversary in the United States and today is the eighth-largest automobile manufacturer in the world. At Gates Honda, we are proud to be a part of this exceptional brand history. We encourage drivers in the Lexington, KY area to join the Honda legacy and test drive one our new or used Honda cars for themselves. Visit our Honda dealership in Richmond, KY today! 



*Based on IHS automotive, Polk CYTD December 2015 non-luxury traditional midsize segment new retail registration in the US.