It's more than 65 years since Honda first appeared on the motorcycle scene. This week, the company built its 300-millionth bike.
The milestone motorcycle was a Honda Gold Wing produced at the company's Kumamoto Factory in Japan. It's an appropriate model for the iconic Gold Wing itself will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2015.
Honda began mass production of motorcycles in Japan in 1949 with the 98-cc Honda Dream Type-D. Today, Honda produces motorcycles, ATVs and side-by-sides at 32 plants in 22 countries, including two plants in North America.
In 1958, Honda introduced the Honda 50, known globally as the Super Cub, which paved the way for Honda's expansion into the U.S. in 1959 and Canada in 1969.
The Super Cub, which has sold nearly 90 million units globally since its inception, was the focus of a mid-1960s advertising campaign, ‘You Meet the Nicest People on a Honda,' that played a major role in the transformation and growth of the North American motorcycle market.
In the 1960s, Honda became the best-selling motorcycle brand in North America and in the world, leading to the establishment of Honda of America Mfg. and the company's first U.S. production facility, the Marysville Motorcycle Plant.
The successful startup of motorcycle production soon led to automobile production at the Marysville Auto Plant in 1982.
Motorcycle production continued in Ohio until 2009 and planted the seeds that have led to 17 major Honda manufacturing facilities in North America, producing a wide range of Honda and Acura automobiles, automobile engines and transmissions, Honda all-terrain vehicles and side-by-sides, power equipment products and the HondaJet light jet.