Soichiro Honda – The Founder of the Honda Motor Company

Soichiro Honda – The Founder of the Honda Motor Company

The Honda Motor Company is a company that is well known across the world. You don’t have to say what industry Honda is in, everyone knows immediately it is cars and motorcycles. This powerful brand all started with Soichiro Honda born in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka, Japan in 1906.

Soichiro’s father was the local blacksmitch but could do anything with his hands when it was required. Soichiro’s spirit of adventure and determine to explore and development new technology came from his father who instilled a hard work ethic and love of mechanical things. Soichiro Honda showed technical ingenuity even in childhood by crafting forged family seal stamps and making his own toys.

By 1922 Soichiro Honda was working in a car shop in Tokyo doing medial tasks but became a trusted mechanic. There he worked on the Art Daimler racing car. Making parts for this car taught him invaluable lessons that would be used later in his career. When the car raced for the first time and won the trophy, Soichiro Honda was the mechanic and only 17 years old. Honda continued to work in the mechanic shop and his experience grew as he worked on Mercedes, Lincolns and Daimlers. At the age of 21 he opened his own auto shop in Hamamatsu.

Soon the employees of Honda learned that sloppy work and poor performance would not be tolerated with the lesson punctuated by Honda throwing tools. Honda wanted to build an engineering business but knew his own managerial shortcomings, so he developed Honda Motor Company in 1946 to build small motorcycles. Honda focused on the engineering and left the running of the company to Takeo Fujisawa. Their first product was a 98 cc two stroke motorcycle called Dream.

Many times Honda Motor Company went through rocky times because both Honda and Fukisawa were gamblers, in that they knew expansion would only happened with risk. Honda stated that without Fukisawa they would have gone bankrupt a long time ago. Fujisawa stated that without Honda they would have never become that big. Honda became an international name in motorcycles after they embarked on the Tourist Trophy race program after a near bankruptcy with the flop of the Juno scooter. Five years later Hondas were racing on the Isle of Man and won the Tourist Trophy two years later.

Soichiro enjoyed flying, skiing, hang gliding and ballooning even in his later years. Both Honda and Fujisawa made a pact to never force their sons to join the company but instead let them decide what to do.