Honda

Honda logoHonda is a company that rarely takes risks, which can be seen through the design and engineering of its products. Its automotive division is known for offering reliable, fuel-efficient and versatile cars and trucks, while not shying away from innovating in powertrain and cabin ergonomics development.

2024 Honda Prologue
2024 Honda Prologue

Products bearing the Honda logo have long been recognized as “safe choices,” meaning they boast qualities that apply to the mass consumer base, with few compromises as well. The brand stands out for the durability and the resale value of its vehicles, and although they don’t necessarily follow the latest design trends, their appearance ages well over time. Consumers who buy Honda vehicles tend to keep them for many years.

2023 Honda Civic Type R

The company’s most popular models have become household names, such as the Honda Civic, the Honda Accord and the Honda CR-V, just to name a few. These vehicles regularly rank among the best-selling of their respective categories, and among the best-selling overall, in the United States and in Canada.

2024 Honda Ridgeline

Which isn’t to say that Honda doesn’t have any challenges ahead of it. Like many Japanese brands, the transition to a fully electrified lineup is a slow process. It’s been building and selling hybrid-powered vehicles since 1999, but none of the models bearing this fuel-saving technology has been a resounding hit on the sales charts. Nevertheless, Honda is now stepping on the gas-electric pedal and deploying hybrid powertrains in more variants of its popular nameplates.

2025 Honda CR-V e:FCEV

It’s also a believer in the development of hydrogen fuel cell technology, although the refueling infrastructure in North America is virtually non-existent outside of a few areas such as California and British Columbia.

2023 Honda HR-V

Current Honda Model Lineup

The current U.S. and Canadian lineup includes the Honda Civic, high-performance Honda Civic Type R and Honda Accord passenger cars, the Honda HR-V, Honda CR-V, Honda Prologue, Honda Passport and Honda Pilot crossovers, the Honda Ridgeline pickup truck, and the Honda Odyssey minivan. In addition to cars, trucks and motorcycles, the parent company also produces recreational vehicles, marine engines and even an airplane called the HondaJet.

Honda History

The Honda Motor Company was founded in 1948 by engineer Soichiro Honda in Hamamatsu, Japan. Honda initially focused on producing motorized bicycles, recognizing the postwar demand for affordable transportation, and rapidly expanded its offerings by venturing into motorcycle manufacturing.

The Honda T360 on the production line in Sayama, Japan in 1963.

In the 1960s, Honda set its sights on the American market. The company’s first foray into the United States came in 1959 when it established American Honda Motor Company. Honda’s entry was marked by the introduction of the Honda 50 motorcycle, also known as the Super Cub. The company’s very first automobile was the diminutive Honda T360 pickup truck, which launched in 1963, followed by the Honda S500 sports car that same year and the L700 wagon-esque delivery van in 1965. Those three models were quickly replaced with the T500, S600 and L800, which were superseded by the TN360, the S800 and the Honda Vamos before the end of the decade. The Honda N360, Honda N600 and Honda 1300 passenger cars also appeared during that time.

1963 Honda T360

Honda got involved in motorsports early on, as it participated in its first Formula 1 race in 1964. It would celebrate its first victory a year later.

1963 Honda S500

The first automobile imported into the country was the diminutive Honda N600 hatchback in 1969. Meanwhile, the company entered the Canadian market in 1969, selling motorcycles and power equipment, followed by its first cars.

1967 Honda N360

Several new models debuted in the 1970s. The Z360 and Z600 replaced the N360 and N600, and the Honda 145 replaced the 1300. The ‘70s marked Honda’s expansion into the automobile market in North America. The fuel crisis during this era saw a surge in demand for fuel-efficient vehicles, a niche Honda was ready to fill, as it became the first automaker to meet the Clean Air Act standards of that time. The Honda Civic, introduced in 1973, became a symbol of Honda’s commitment to quality and innovation. Its compact size, fuel efficiency, and reliability made it a hit among consumers. It was followed by the Honda Accord in 1976 and the Honda Prelude in 1978. The company developed the world’s first car navigation system in 1981.

1972 Honda Civic

By the 1980s, Honda solidified its presence in the North American automotive landscape. In 1982, the company opened its first U.S. assembly plant in Marysville, Ohio and currently operates four main vehicle assembly plants in the country. Honda also opened its first manufacturing facility in Canada in 1986, located in Alliston, Ontario, benefitting from multiple expansions and capacity increases over time. Meanwhile, the Civic lineup expanded into hatchback, sedan and wagon variants, while the two-passenger Honda Civic CRX two-passenger coupe launched for the 1984 model year. In other markets, the Honda City/Jazz and Honda Today minicars appeared as well.

1984 Honda Civic CRX

In 1986, Honda introduced the Acura brand, marking Honda’s entry into the luxury automobile market. Acura sold rebadged and posher variants of the Honda Integra, Honda Legend and Honda NSX (named Acura Integra, Acura Legend and Acura NSX on our shores). During the 1988 Formula 1 season, Honda dominated its opponents by winning 15 out of 16 races, with Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna at the helm of its McLaren-Honda MP4/4 race cars.

1994 Honda Odyssey

The Honda Beat was a tiny convertible sports car sold in Japan from 1991 to 1996, and the last car green-lighted by Soichiro Honda before his death. The Honda Civic Del Sol appeared as a 1993 model, the Honda Passport was the brand’s first utility vehicle in North America as a 1994 model, as a rebadged Isuzu Rodeo, while the Honda Odyssey minivan also appeared for 1994. The Honda CR-V launched in 1997 in the U.S. and Canada was the brand’s first in-house SUV. The very first Honda Civic Type R was introduced in 1997, but was only offered in Japan.

1997 Honda EV Plus

During that time, the Accord nameplate branched out into two different models–a smaller one for international markets, and a bigger one for North America.The company’s first fully electric effort was the experimental Honda EV Plus hatchback leased to a select few customers in California in 1997, along with a few units in Japan and in Europe.

2000 Honda Insight

In 1999, the Honda Insight launched as one of the first hybrid-powered cars in North America. The Honda HR-V first appeared in 1999 in international markets, but not in North America. The now-iconic Honda S2000 launched in 1999, a lightweight roadster that paid tribute to the S500, S600 and S800 models the brand sold in the 1960s.

2003 Honda Element

The second-generation Insight hit the market for 2000, while the seventh generation of the Honda Civic arrived for the 2001 model year in coupe and sedan body styles, but a hatchback made a return for 2002 as the Civic Si (SiR in Canada), which boasted distinct styling and was imported from the U.K. The 2002 model year also saw the arrival of the Honda Element, a funky compact crossover with suicide-style rear doors and a fold-down rear seat to create a bed, along with the experimental Honda FCX hydrogen fuel-cell city car, available in the U.S. and Japan by lease only. The Civic Hybrid arrived for the 2023 model year at the same time as the Honda Pilot midsize three-row crossover, while the Honda Ridgeline pickup launched for 2006 and the Honda Fit subcompact arrived for the 2007 model year. The hydrogen-powered Honda FCX Clarity was introduced for 2008, while the second-gen model, named Clarity, was offered with PHEV, FCEV and BEV powertrains.

2010 Honda Accord Crosstour

More crossover vehicles were introduced during the 2010s, such as the Honda Accord Crosstour (later renamed simply Crosstour) and the second-generation HR-V, while international markets received the Honda BR-V, XR-V, WR-V and ZR-V. The Honda S660 roadster was the spiritual successor to the S2000, sold from 2015 to 2022 in markets outside of the U.S. and Canada. In 2016, the company celebrated its 100 millionth vehicle manufactured worldwide. The mighty Civic Type R finally reached the U.S. and Canadian markets for the 2017 model year, and the Honda Passport returned to the market as a two-row midsize crossover for 2019. That same year, the third-generation Honda Insight launched as a posher replacement for the Civic Hybrid.

2015 Honda S660

In 2020, the company launched a new fully electric vehicle, the Honda e, which was available in several markets, but not in North America. Through a partnership with General Motors, the Honda Prologue fully electric crossover launched for the 2024 model year, and it will be followed by a plug-in hydrogen powered variant of the sixth-generation CR-V. The Civic Hybrid will also make another comeback, scheduled for a 2025 model-year launch.

2020 Honda e

Looking ahead, the Japanese manufacturer seeks to cut CO2 emissions by another 50% from its products by 2050 compared to its 2000 levels. In addition, the company set a goal of no fatalities in its products from the 2030 model year onwards, and no collisions starting with the 2040 model year. As Soichiro Honda once said, “Action without philosophy is a lethal weapon; philosophy without action is worthless.”