Japan -- Overview

8/2/2004 6:58:37 PM

The continued growth of Honda's 6-region global strategy has resulted in two separate and distinct roles for Honda's Japan operations - meeting the needs of local customers and strengthening the growing autonomy of overseas operations.

Facing stiff competition and a difficult economy in Japan, Honda has focused considerable attention on developing unique products for its customers in Japan, while continuing to focus on the flexibility and efficiency of the production facilities that produce these products and the sales networks that market them.

Further, in line with the strategy of making the most efficient use of global resources, Honda continues to play a vital role as a "global headquarters" - developing product and production technologies and coordinating their distribution and implementation to best serve each region's needs.


  • Honda earned "Japan Car of the Year" honors with the all-new Legend (Acura RL), Honda's flagship luxury performance sedan, with a 300-horspower engine and the world's first Super Handing All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system.
  • Honda continues to import products made at Honda facilities outside Japan as part of the on-going strategy to make most efficient use of global resources.
  • Honda became the world's first automaker to supply a fuel cell vehicle to private corporations in 2003, an important step for data collection both for fuel cell vehicles and the hydrogen infrastructure. Honda also started leasing FCX with Honda's original fuel cell stack, which is capable of starting in sub-freezing temperatures.
  • Honda continues to expand the application of the world's first electronically controlled fuel injection system ('PGM-FI') for use in 4-stroke, 50cc motorcycle engines. The PGM-FI system offers improved fuel economy and a reduction in emissions below levels required by Japanese government regulations. All Honda scooters for sale in Japan will be converted to PGM-FI by 2007.


  • Production of some ATV models was transferred from the U.S. to the Kumamoto Factory to strengthen the leader function of Japan in supporting the expansion of Honda's overseas operations.
  • The casting and machining of diesel engines is being transferred from Honda's production engineering operations in Japan to the Suzuka Plant to increase mass production to meet greater demand in Europe and to serve as a leader function for the start-up of diesel engine production in the U.K.
  • Honda's flexible New Manufacturing System is in place at all of Honda's auto and motorcycle plants in Japan - using standardized equipment and processes to minimize model-specific investment. Part of Honda's "Green Factory" initiative, the new system also reduces waste and energy use.

Research & Development

  • Honda R&D was established as a separate company in 1960 to provide Honda engineers the freedom to pursue the best technologies for Honda customers. Even as Honda continues to localize R&D activities in each region around the world, Honda R&D in Japan remains at the core of the company's research efforts and product development - developing fundamental technologies, powertrains and platforms.
  • Honda R&D established a new research facility in Tochigi focused on research into advanced technologies for next generation engines.