MotorMartin can’t be the only one to be surprised by Honda’s announcement that they were to celebrate 50 years of trading in the UK. It was the year the Beatles performed the first stadium concert in the history of music, while cartoon heroes Tom and Jerry and the puppet-tastic Thunderbirds first aired on TV. Cigarette advertising was banned on British TV, the Sound of Music premiered and Churchill was buried. As you can see from the brief list above, this was a time of great change both socially and culturally with the world seemingly moving forward under the weight of new technologies.
1965 also saw the year Honda first started trading in the UK. It was also the year when Honda had their first Grand Prix win with the legendary RA272, thanks to Ritchie Ginther at the Mexico Grand Prix.
Honda are proud of the fact that in the last five decades, Honda has achieved milestone after milestone. Now one of the top 20 biggest brands in the world, Honda employs over 182,000 employees worldwide and has 40 manufacturing facilities making everything from a 25cc leaf blower to a $4m business jet.
Last year, global sales hit 27.3million units, made up of 17 million motorcycles, six million power products and 4.3million cars. The European arm employs 8,000 people and last year sold almost 1.4million products.
This year also sees 30 years of Honda of the UK Manufacturing (HUM). A 370 acre site in Swindon employing 3,200 people, HUM has benefitted from a self-funded total investment of £2.2bn over the years and will become the global production hub for the five door Civic.
The motorcycles division is number one in the UK market with almost 20% market share. Indeed MotorMartin passed his motorcycle test way back in 1990 on a 125cc Honda Benly twin which had the luxury of an electric start no less! With a product range spanning 65 models, last year, Honda sold 19,000 bikes in the UK. The power products range has 225 models and last year sold in excess of 50,000 units. Honda is the number one ATV manufacturer in the UK and the third largest outboard manufacturer.
From a motorsport perspective in the UK, we have the most successful BSB team in the UK and the BTCC team just won the drivers and manufacturers championships for 2015. Surely this seasons BTCC was one of the most exciting of recent years, with a strength in depth second to none.
Philip Crossman, Managing Director at Honda UK, commented: “This year marks our golden anniversary in the UK with fifty years of rich history in trading bikes, power products and cars. While this year has been significant in refreshing the car range in its entirety and launching several important new bikes, the Japanese way is to take a much longer viewpoint than just 12 months. Our business has changed radically since it launched in the swinging sixties, adapting and evolving to suit the demands of riders and drivers over the years. I can well imagine that Honda will be a completely different organisation in 2065 – but still selling quality and trusted cars, bikes and power products.”
Join me then in raising a glass to Honda as MotorMartin wishes them continued success for the next 50 years! Well done.
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