Entering the Auto Market at Last / 1966

The Quest for an Effective Automobile Sales System Getting into the Market Last - Being First with the Best

Entering the Auto Market at Last / 1966

Supporting Retail Dealers in Their Sales Efforts

The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) in May 1961 unveiled its basic administrative policy regarding the automotive industry (later called the Specified Industry Promotion Bill). Upon its passing, the bill would make it impossible for any new car company to enter the market. Given the assumed timeline, Honda had to begin automobile production and sales immediately in order to obtain sufficient sales records before the bill's passage.

Supporting Retail Dealers in Their Sales Efforts

The front view of AHSF's facility in Nagaoka, circa 1968 (Photograph courtesy of Toshinobu Kudo)

Honda's first automobiles, the T360 mini truck and S360/S500 sportscars, debuted in October 1962, at the 9th Japan National Auto Show. Although the cars were well received by the public, the whole affair was a matter of concern to Senior Managing Director Takeo Fujisawa, who felt the company had been rushed into producing cars at least a few years earlier than originally planned. There was still a great amount of work to be done.

Kihachiro Kawashima (then executive vice-president) looked back on the situation in the November 1978 issue of the Honda Company Newsletter (Vol. 151):

Honda was a total stranger to the automotive market at that time. We could not implement nationwide promotional campaigns as we had done for the Cub, simply because we had never sold any cars before. Moreover, the establishment of large retail stores such as those of Toyota and Nissan was out of the question, because that would have required a huge investment, causing us to lose our price-competitiveness. Therefore, Fujisawa thought of establishing a sales network among Honda motorcycle retail dealers who had sufficient financial resources and wanted to get into the car business.

However, these dealers also had certain disadvantages. Although they had strong ties with the local communities, their operations were too small to handle automobiles. To compensate for that weakness through our resources as a manufacturer, and to allow the retail dealer to concentrate on selling, we established systems in which service issues were handled by our SF (Service Factory) network, with the trade-in and resale of used cars being handled by Honda Used Car Sales. Assistance with day-to-day sales operations would be provided by our sales offices, while marketing and other support would be provided by Honda Sales Research (HSR). We had to use our motorcycle retail dealers to sell automobiles. The new support system came into being once we had explored ways of converting their potential power into an effective sales force.

Honda established Honda Shinpan Co., Ltd., at about the same time, in order to expedite financial matters.

This series of support systems was collectively known as Honda's "retailer-based sales system."

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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