Thayer Watkins
Silicon Valley
& Tornado Alley

The Honda Group Keiretsu of Japan

In the Japanese scheme of things the company of Ichiro Honda is a Johnny-come-lately upstart which is not on par with the venerable old companies which had their origins in the Meiji Era of Japan. Ichiro Honda built his company from scratch after the end of World War II. At that time began building motorbikes by installing small engines on bicycles. Since there was a tremendous need for transportation at that time he was able to quickly. He graduated to building motorcycles. After establishing a name in the motorcycle market, particularly in the U.S., he then took his company into the automobile industry. Ichiro Honda had always been a car buff. Before World War II he tried to get into the automobile industry by producing piston rings.

Honda found it relatively hard to break into the domestic car market in Japan so he focused upon the export market. Thus the Honda automobiles have a better reputation abroad than in Japan. Honda derives a substantially larger share of its sales abroad than do the other Japanese auto companies such as Toyota.

(To be continued.)

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