Using Direct Mail to Develop Sales Outlets for the Cub F-Type (1952)

Using Direct Mail to Develop Sales Outlets for the Cub F-Type (1952)

By the time Fujisawa joined the Honda management team, Japan had already bade farewell to the days when dealers came with cash in their knapsacks and paid in advance. A lot of motorcycle manufacturers had started up and it was now a buyers’ market. There were only about 300 dealerships in the whole of Japan and of these about twenty represented Honda but they were not, of course, exclusive Honda dealers. As a late comer into the field Honda had to supply all its products on consignment and the payment terms had to favor the buyer. Up until that time, there had been an extreme imbalance between Honda’s production capacity and its sales capacity.

Soichiro Honda gave Fujisawa complete responsibility for strengthening the company’s corporate sales position and conducting negotiations with its bankers. Another difficulty at first was finding a way of improving the inefficient system for collecting payment, but the biggest fundamental problem was to break free of the company’s weak marketing position and develop networks of agents and dealers.

Kihachiro Kawashima, who eventually reached the position of executive vice-president, was close to Fujisawa during those early years and had a chance to observe his clever planning, careful thinking and decisiveness. “I joined the company in 1951, much later than Mr. Kiyoshi Kawashima and Mr. Shirai. After graduating from the university I went back to my home town in Shizuoka and ran my own oil business. I heard that a motorbike manufacturing company called Honda was looking for salesmen. Since my own business didn’t look as though it had much of a future and I thought Honda seemed like an interesting company, I thought I would have a look and went to Hamamatsu.

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