Honda Australia Celebrating 50 Years

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Updated: October 25, 2019

The Honda name and the products it creates are legendary. Known globally for their quality engines, cars, motorcycles and power equipment, it is one of the most well-respected brands of the modern era. This year Honda celebrated a huge milestone with its 50-year anniversary in Australia.

All those in the construction industry tip their hardhats and pay homage to the world’s largest manufacturer of internal combustion engines; engines that power the job site and make our work life that much easier.

Soichiro Honda was a mechanic and avid race car driver in Japan, but even more so he was a visionary inventor. Even before being established as a formal company, the first product to actually carry Soichiro’s name was the Honda A-Type, an auxiliary bicycle engine he designed that used revolutionary rotary disk valves and a patented transmission mechanism. This was way back in 1947, and even from this early model, Honda’s ingenuity and attention to detail was evident.

The next year Soichiro made it official and with 34 employees he founded Honda Motors. From the beginning the company really concentrated on its engineering research and development, always trying to break new ground and be the first to implement new technologies that would help the end user.

“Key focuses for Honda have always been bringing joy to customers – our founder Soichiro Honda built his company on this,” stated Honda Australia MPE Communications Coordinator, Kristy Ganter. “There is also a major focus on product quality and reliability and ensuring customer satisfaction – it’s what Honda is famous for, products that are built to last and are at the forefront of development.”

Honda catapulted its production and sales and within 10 years became the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer – an incredible feat in such a short time and a claim they continue to hold some 60 years on.

Of course even though motorbikes sprouted and remain a large part of the business, Honda is arguably just as famous for their cars. After spreading its wings over international borders with branches in America and Europe, Honda started to become a full-fledged member of the automotive industry in the late 1960s. They soon created some instant classics; from the Coupe and Civic through to the Accord.

It was around this time in 1969 that Hidehiko Shiomi relocated from Japan and established Honda Australia from his apartment in South Yarra. Set up as a subsidiary, Honda Australia gained instant traction with the distribution of their fashionable and highly efficient automobiles and motorbikes, and by the end of the ’70s the brand, the Aussie company and the products it sold were not only seen as a genuine player in the local market, but as an innovative leader.

Behind the scenes the Honda Motors powerhouse was also dipping their toe into basic farming and agricultural machinery as a new revenue pool. Generators, water pumps and outboard boat motors also became part of their new power equipment staple, and after extensive, worldwide research, they released their first lawn mower in 1978.

As their range of products grew in size and popularity, Honda Australia’s operations also needed to grow to meet the demand. A new national headquarters was opened in Tullamarine in 1981, a base that still stands strong today. Honda saw the potential of its power products in Australia and created a separate division to its automotive department. Honda MPE (Motorcycle and Power Equipment) was established about 25 years ago with a base in Campbellfield, just north of Melbourne. Honda MPE has grown exponentially with there now being approximately 120 staff working out of the MPE offices alone. On top of this they have more than 800 motorcycle and power equipment distributors right across the country.

For Aussie builders and other trades, nothing compares to a Honda generator. From the super quiet to industrial strength, there’s a model to suit any and all requirements. And of course Honda engines are so good they distribute them on to other manufacturers who assemble them to their products. As proof of their reliability, quality and credibility, you’ll see many companies actually promoting and boasting about their equipment that ‘features a Honda engine’. In the end if you look through any building site you’re pretty much guaranteed that you’ll see a Honda engine somewhere in the mix.

Following Soichiro’s original legacy, Honda continues its pioneering ways, combining their diverse knowledge to ensure all of the products they engineer are of the highest possible quality.

“Lessons learned from Formula One,” continued Kristy Ganter, “the development of Asimo the robot, MotoGP bikes and more are all used for further developing and mastering our products. As the largest engine manufacturer in the world, it’s vital for information to be shared so each department can progress into the future. Honda will continue to develop and bring to market advanced technologies, creating value like no other brand.”

With the recent unveiling of a prototype electrified power unit developed for commercial-grade work equipment, it looks like there’s no stopping the life-changing leaps forward Honda will make. Here’s to the next 50 years of revolutionary advancements.

For more information visit www.powerequipment.honda.com.au