Honda Motor Co., Ltd.’s Overseas Expansion and the Transmission of Its Management Philosophy: The Power to Realize the “Dream”
Honda Motor Co., Ltd. was founded by Soichiro Honda in Hamamatsu, Japan, in 1948 as a motorcycle production and sales company, with approximately 20 employees and a capital of JPY one million. After 3 years of establishment, Honda became Japan’s leading motorcycle production company. In 1958, it launched Super Cub, a long-lasting product. Honda grew rapidly to occupy the top spot in global motorcycle sales.
In 1959, Honda established a local corporation in the United States, taking the first step toward an overseas expansion. Soon after, in 1963, production and sales of (four-wheel) automobiles began, and its business expanded worldwide in three categories: motorcycles, automobiles, and general-purpose engines. In 2019, Honda had approximately 220,000 employees and was already selling more than 30 million units worldwide in consolidated base.
Honda’s management philosophy, which has inherited since its foundation, has supported its growth to be a global company. This chapter will describe the company’s management philosophy, how it has been propagated to overseas and been changing over time, and the efforts and translations involved in this propagation. The study in this chapter is based on the participant observation by one of the authors and the interviews conducted with ex-executives of Honda.
This article is a revised and updated version of Kosugi et al. (2013). We would like to thank Toshikata Amino (ex-executive vice president of Honda of America Mfg.), Hisao Suzuki (ex-chief advisor of Honda R&D Americas), and Takuo Kawasaki (ex-general manager of Honda’s Suzuka Factory) for their valuable comments and suggestions at the International Symposium on the Emergence, Transmission, and Diffusion of the Management Philosophy in Asian Companies (at Hong Kong, 2011) and others.
- Fujisawa T (1998) Keiei ni owari wa nai (No end for management) (in Japanese). Bungei shunju, TokyoGoogle Scholar
- Honda S (2001) Honda Soichiro Yume wo chikara ni (The power realize the dream) (in Japanese). Nihon keizai shimbun shuppansha, TokyoGoogle Scholar
- Kosugi M, Mitsui I, Deguchi T (2013) Honda giken kōgyō no kaigai shinshutsu to keieirinen no denpa keishō: ‘Yume’ wo jitsugen suru rinen no chikara (Honda Motor Co., Ltd.’s overseas expansion and the transmission of its management philosophy: the power of the philosophy to realize the “dream”) (in Japanese). In Mitsui I (ed) Asia kigyō no keieirinen: Seisei Dempa Keishō no Dynamism (Management philosophies of Asian companies: dynamism of their creation, transmission and succession). Bunshindō, TokyoGoogle Scholar