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  • Saurabh Bhandari

HONDA: A lesson in setting dreams and overshooting them

Updated: Nov 30, 2018



Honda’s core strength was building advanced engines and their wildly successful automobiles were just the byproducts of a well-executed product development plan with a carefully devised marketing strategy.



The automobile industry is majorly dominated by either the Japanese or the Germans. While Germany stands for Luxury and technology, their Japanese counterparts are known for quality and reliability world over. Suzuki, Toyota, and Honda can be rightly called the trinity of the Japanese automobile industry- together these companies have captured the market of every country across the world. Honda among this trio enjoys a special status among the hearts of its customers. Honda motor corp started its life as a piston ring manufacturer and supplied these rings to Toyota. Honda’s piston rings were rejected multiple times owing to the stringent quality checks that Toyota had in place but this did not deter the spirit of its founder Soichiro Honda, who after seeing multiple rejections finally landed the supply contract from Toyota. Though this supplier and OEM relation proved to be very helpful for Honda, This happiness was short lived as Honda lost the majority of it’s manufacturing facilities because of the earthquakes and world war II battles.


Becoming a dominant two-wheeler maker in the US and European markets.


Whatever salvage that was left out from the rubble was sold and the founder Soichiro Honda utilized that money in establishing a factory making small IC engines which could be fitted to motorcycles and the year 1948 marked the birth of Honda’s first fully functional motorcycle. In 1948 from producing its very first fully functional motorcycle to the year 1964 when Honda became the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer- Honda motorcycles gave tough competitions to the likes of Harley Davidson and Triumph in their home markets and outsold their competitors to become number one in the Americas and the UK.From creating their first motorcycle and becoming the world leaders in motorcycles in just 16 years- Honda has a lot of lessons to teach us in the fields of operations, marketing, and organizational communication.


Taking the four wheeler market by storm.


As if achieving this feat was not enough Honda ventured into the four wheeler's arena and repeated the same success with their cars and pick up trucks too. Their cars too became the hallmarks of quality, reliability,and performance and were seen as par with that of Toyota- to whom previously they were just a small piston ring suppliers. Honda’s core strength was building advanced engines and their wildly successful automobiles were just the byproducts of a well-executed product development plan with a carefully devised marketing strategy. At the core, Honda’s philosophy is greatly influenced by its founder who himself was a self-taught technician whose love for machines and automobiles was undying, which showed up in every product that Honda made and those products were loved by people from all over the world.


Soichiro Honda, the founder of Honda motor corporation was a truly remarkable person who showed the world why apprenticeship, fine hands-on skills, passion towards building things and life at large were all important for a business to succeed on a global level. He did not have a formal degree in engineering yet he was a true engineer by heart who lived and breathed automobiles. Life of Soichiro Honda and Honda motor corp’s success teaches us few things which are:

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