Establishing Belgium Honda / 1963

Crossing Boundaries to International Production

Establishing Belgium Honda / 1963

Honda Sweeps the Isle of Man TT Race

Belgium Honda celebrated its first anniversary with a factory opening ceremony on September 5, 1963, when Honda Motor was about to celebrate its 15th anniversary. The following day, with the help of local officials, a grand gala was held in an 18th century castle rented for the event. The party was attended by many, including officials from the Belgian government and officials from Aalst. Soichiro Honda, the president and founder of Honda, also flew in from Japan.

Honda Sweeps the Isle of Man TT Race

Assembling products at Belgium Honda

"Honda swept the Isle of Man TT Race, and now the company's boss is coming to Belgium," the locals said of Mr. Honda's visit. In the sky was a light airplane slowly circling with a streaming banner carrying the message "Welcome, Mr. Honda!"

Europe was at the time a heavily class-conscious society in which there was great distinction made between management and factory workers. It was simply a matter of course that there was a clear difference in status between white-collar staff and blue-color workers. Thus, it was unthinkable for the president of any company, no matter how big or small, to speak directly with his associates or even shake their hands. Therefore, when Soichiro Honda addressed the local associates in the opening ceremony he said, "Let's have fun working together as one." He even approached a circle of associates saying, "Let's have our picture taken together."

The locals were not only happy to be greeted that way, but were truly astonished at the company president's forward manner. It helped set the tone for the gathering, and everything went smoothly from that point on.

The local community was generally very friendly toward the Japanese associates at Belgium Honda. They delighted in having the company of Japanese people, who were then very rare in the region. Moreover, the families of the Japanese were always being invited to parties as part of an effort by the local people to engender their friendship.

There were those, however, who frowned upon Belgium Honda's participation in the regional market.

The use of mopeds in Belgium and the Netherlands was comparatively high with respect to the other EEC nations. Therefore, Honda was perceived as a threat in certain ways, having demonstrated world-class performance in the Motorcycle World Grand Prix and the Isle of Man TT Race.

"There was initially a period in which we couldn't get as many applicants as we wanted," said Iwamura, "despite the ads we'd placed in the newspapers. But the local papers were running such reports as, The General Motors of Japan arrives, rampaging through the market," and Honda invades the market." So, we decided to run an ad pushing our concept into the spotlight, saying something like, We're launching our activities for the development of the Belgian motorcycle industry. We'd like to see our products used not only in Belgium, but in other countries as well." And that was the turning point. It helped clear up any misunderstandings among the local people, and the number of job applicants grew dramatically."

The Challenging Spirit of Honda

1990 - 1999
  1. The Birth of Twin Ring Motegi / 1997The Birth of Twin Ring Motegi / 1997
  2. Entry to Champ Car Racing / 1994Entry to Champ Car Racing / 1994
  3. Odyssey / 1994Odyssey / 1994
  4. Establishment of Honda Taiyo, Kibo-no-Sato Honda and Honda R&D Taiyo / 1992Establishment of Honda Taiyo, Kibo-no-Sato Honda and Honda R&D Taiyo / 1992
  5. Hosting Hosting "Orei-no-kai" / 1991
  6. The NSX / 1990The NSX / 1990
1980 - 1989
  1. The VTEC Engine / 1989The VTEC Engine / 1989
  2. Honda EV Plus: The Dream of an Electric Vehicle / 1988Honda EV Plus: The Dream of an Electric Vehicle / 1988
  3. An Automated Line for Painting and Coating / 1988An Automated Line for Painting and Coating / 1988
  4. Four-Wheel Steering System (4WS) / 1987Four-Wheel Steering System (4WS) / 1987
  5. The Airbag System / 1987The Airbag System / 1987
  6. The ZE Engine (GX110 / 140 / 240 / 270 / 340 Series) / 1983The ZE Engine (GX110 / 140 / 240 / 270 / 340 Series) / 1983
  7. Formula One Entry / 1983Formula One Entry / 1983
  8. Development of Honda's Franz System Car / 1982Development of Honda's Franz System Car / 1982
  9. The World's Smallest Welding Line / 1982The World's Smallest Welding Line / 1982
  10. Transfer Lines for Modular Components / 1981Transfer Lines for Modular Components / 1981
  11. The Car Navigation System / 1981The Car Navigation System / 1981
  12. City / 1981City / 1981
  13. The F200 The F200 "Komame" Mini-Tiller / 1980
  14. Establishing Honda of America Manufacturing / 1980Establishing Honda of America Manufacturing / 1980
1970 - 1979
  1. The Oval Piston Engine / 1979The Oval Piston Engine / 1979
  2. Returning to the World Motorcycle Grand Prix / 1979Returning to the World Motorcycle Grand Prix / 1979
  3. The HR21 Lawn Mower / 1978The HR21 Lawn Mower / 1978
  4. Creating Hometown Forests / 1977Creating Hometown Forests / 1977
  5. The ME Engine (G100 / 150 / 200 / 300 / 400 Series) / 1977The ME Engine (G100 / 150 / 200 / 300 / 400 Series) / 1977
  6. Introducing the Accord / 1976Introducing the Accord / 1976
  7. CG125 / 1975CG125 / 1975
  8. Establishment of Honda Engineering / 1974Establishment of Honda Engineering / 1974
  9. Company Leaders Honda and Fujisawa Retire; Kawashima Assumes Presidency / 1973Company Leaders Honda and Fujisawa Retire; Kawashima Assumes Presidency / 1973
  10. Announcing the Civic / 1972Announcing the Civic / 1972
  11. Introducing the CVCC / 1972Introducing the CVCC / 1972
  12. Holding All Honda Idea Contests / 1970Holding All Honda Idea Contests / 1970
  13. Launching the Office of Safe Driving Promotional Operations / 1970Launching the Office of Safe Driving Promotional Operations / 1970
1960 - 1969
  1. The Dream CB750 FOUR / 1969The Dream CB750 FOUR / 1969
  2. Launching the Honda 1300 / 1968Launching the Honda 1300 / 1968
  3. The Hondamatic Transmission / 1968The Hondamatic Transmission / 1968
  4. Entering the Auto Market at Last / 1966Entering the Auto Market at Last / 1966
  5. The E300 Portable Generator / 1965The E300 Portable Generator / 1965
  6. Formula One Entry / 1964Formula One Entry / 1964
  7. Kyoto: Celebrating the Company's 15th Anniversary / 1963Kyoto: Celebrating the Company's 15th Anniversary / 1963
  8. Establishing Belgium Honda / 1963Establishing Belgium Honda / 1963
  9. Launching the S360 and T360 / 1962Launching the S360 and T360 / 1962
  10. Employing the Employing the "My Record" Project and Expert Certification / 1960
  11. The R&D Center Goes Independent / 1960The R&D Center Goes Independent / 1960
1950 - 1959
  1. Establishing American Honda Motor Co. / 1959Establishing American Honda Motor Co. / 1959

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