Establishing Belgium Honda / 1963

Crossing Boundaries to International Production

Establishing Belgium Honda / 1963

Factory Encounters the Risk of Closure

Despite having conquered a number of obstacles before and after the factory's opening - including a ferocious cold wave and differences in corporate culture, language and tradition - more problems lay ahead for Belgium Honda in its effort to get on a path to full-scale production.

Factory Encounters the Risk of Closure

The factory's September 1963 opening ceremony was arranged so that it would coincide with the first anniversary of Belgium Honda's founding. Soichiro Honda flew in from Japan to share the joy with his local associates.
(Photos courtesy of Mr. Hideo Iwamura and Mr. Ryoji Matsui.)

The most troublesome of these was the fact that the company's new moped (Type C310), which they'd worked so hard to create and market, simply was not meeting their sales expectations.

Moreover, problems began to occur with the customers' products soon after the startup of the new sales network. Increasingly, products were being returned to the factory with user complaints attached.

The C310 moped had not been designed and developed as a specific response to local market demands. Actually, it was a remodeled version of an existing product, put together after it was decided that Belgium Honda was to be established. Therefore, only a limited amount of time could be devoted to meeting the moped regulations stipulated by European nations. There was a greater need to concentrate on the factory's opening.

The C310 was a remodeled version of the Super Cub, a product that had achieved monumental success in Japan and the U.S. In the moped configuration, though, the power of the Super Cub's four-stroke engine was cut back so as not to exceed the maximum speed of 40 kilometers per hour. As with other mopeds in Europe, pedals were also added to the product. The Honda version, however, was larger and heavier than the two-stroke mopeds then so common in Europe. To the local public, the Honda moped looked more like a motorcycle than a moped.

Honda's moped was marketed based on the assumption that Europeans, who were generally taller and more heavily built, would embrace it. However, the C310 never managed to capture the hearts of local riders.

In fact, many problems arose, including those in which users employed a mixture of gasoline and oil in the four-stroke engines, just as they did with their European mopeds. So, despite the enormous effort to convince dealers and customers that the four-cycle engine was superior in all respects, and having provided thorough instructions on how to service the vehicles, the sales increase that Honda wanted simply did not appear.

Company funds were dwindling, too, and this prevented Honda from obtaining fully qualified parts. The situation at Belgium Honda began to deteriorate, with many other factors coming into play. Soon it seemed that the factory would have to close.

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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