Honda Motor Co. was incorporated on Sept. 24, 1948.
The company was founded by Soichiro Honda, who formed the Honda Technical Research Institute in Hamamatsu, Japan, in 1946 to develop and produce internal combustion engines and machine tools.
Honda’s first original motorized product -- a two-stroke Dream D-type motorcycle -- debuted in 1949, and the company’s first general-purpose engine was produced in 1952. As the 1950s ended, Honda introduced the Cub, a Vespa clone that proved popular with women and became the first Honda product sold in the U.S.
After forays into racing and a push into Southeast Asia and Europe in the 1950s and 1960s, Honda pulled the plug on F1 racing in 1968 to focus on commercial car production and low-emissions technology.
In 1970, Honda launched exports of the N600 to the U.S., and in 1974, the Civic CVCC -- for compound vortex controlled combustion -- became the first engine to comply with the U.S. Clean Air Act without a catalytic converter.
The Civic was a hit with U.S. drivers stung by rising gasoline prices. The slightly larger, plusher 1976 Accord sedan captured even more fans, and in 1989, it became the most popular car sold in the U.S. As the 1990s dawned, the company targeted other alternative-fuel vehicles.
The Honda EV Plus went on sale in California in 1997, and the Insight became the first gas-electric hybrid to go on sale in the U.S., in 1999. The fuel cell prototypes FCX-V1 and FCX-V2 were introduced in 1999. The FCX fuel cell was delivered to customers in Japan and the U.S. in 2002 and was followed by the FCX Clarity.
Honda continued to build on its roots in engine development and emissions control with the introduction of new turbo engines, two- and three-motor gasoline-electric hybrids and a next-generation fuel cell as the 2010s closed.
In recent years, Honda has doubled down on light trucks with new models such as the HR-V subcompact crossover and the revived Passport crossover. A redesigned CR-V and Pilot debut in 2022. And Honda has partnered with General Motors to market electric crossovers for the Honda and Acura brands.