The Concept of a “People’s Car”

Honda’s S360 sportscar was unveiled on June 5, 1962, during the 11th National Honda Meeting General Assembly held at Suzuka Circuit, the construction of which was still under way.

<< 1. The Concept of a “People’s Car”
<< 2. Third Research Section: A Starting Point for Product Development
<< 3. Building an Industry through Open Competition
<< 4. Nothing Is Impossible
<< 5. Promoting Entry into the Car Business
<< 6. Production Encompassing Every Factory
<< 7. Building Honda’s First Dedicated Auto Plant

“A four-seater with a top speed of 100 km/h, priced at ¥150,000*: this was the description of a car foreseen in an executive summary from the “People’s Car” concept, a promotional program announced by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry in May 1955. It immediately established the engineering target for those who would be creating the passenger cars of the coming era. Eventually several mini passenger models debuted in answer to MITI’s proposal, including the Suzu-Light (October 1955) and Subaru 360 (March 1958).

Naturally, consumers expected Honda to join the trend and begin automobile production. However, Soichiro Honda remained somewhat cautious about the matter, offering his opinion in the December 1959 issue of the Honda Company Newsletter (Vol. 50): “We shouldn’t rush into auto production,” he stated, “until we conduct thorough research and are absolutely confident that every requirement has been fulfilled, including the performance of our cars and production facilities.”
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