Hall of Fame Inductee – 2005
Sochiro Honda created a motor vehicle industry when it should have been impossible. The territory was taken, transportation was a mature industry and one man could no longer create such a manufacturing empire. Yet Honda did. He knew his own country men well enough to lead them and he sought in others talents he himself did not have. Work and study brought success, so that when he produced his first post war motor-bicycles, he knew the value of continuous reinvestment in technology. Honda understood that if you made a product no better and no worse than your competitors, the customer had no reason to prefer yours. But reinvestment in technology offered something different – a way to grow ideas into useful new things that people would want.
Honda also changed marketing and manufacturing methods. A product that can be made in easy steps can be made well, and a product that does that, does its job reliably, pleases its users.
The step-through Honda Cub was the first international success for the Honda Motor Company, and it was the model for all the successes that were to follow.
Marketing targeted the general public with good, clean two-wheeled fun and introduced millions to motorcycling. When the market was saturated, Honda had the vision to see that a similarly trouble-free kind of sports motorcycle could become equally popular. Honda expanded its line, always offering its customers a step up to more sophisticated models.
From Honda’s continuing research and development, a long succession of technological triumphs has resulted – low emissions engines, variable valve timing, the latest lean-burn combustion system and minimalist alloy chassis are only a few.