A Brief History of Honda in Canada
It seems that every time you drive down the street, park in a parking lot, or simply look around, you will notice a number of Hondas everywhere. Have you ever wondered about the history of these high-quality, affordable automobiles?
Honda Makes Bold Moves in Canada
Just after Canada celebrated its centennial, Honda made its first appearance in our country. In 1969, Honda Canada was founded; however, their early beginnings didn't include the trademark vehicles that you see driving on our roads today. Instead, they started in Canada with motorcycles and power equipment (think lawn and snow blowers), which continue to be part of their core business and success today.
The First Honda Civic is Introduced
Honda Civic has been Honda’s most iconic car, as its longest-running automotive nameplate, as well as being the model most sold around the world. This iconic car was first sold in Canada in 1973, where its sales were unassuming at first with only 747 units sold in that first year. It didn’t take long for this car to gain momentum and has since become Canada’s best-selling passenger car for the last 20 years in a row.
What was perhaps most compelling about this car was its fuel efficiency, which was very attractive given the timing of its launch during the oil crisis in the early 1970s.
Here are some fun facts about the Honda Civic:
- More than five million Honda Civics have been built in Canada.
- The Honda of Canada Mfg’s (HCM) plant in Alliston, ON became the global lead plant for the tenth generation Honda Civic in 2015. This is the first time such a plant was located outside of Japan.
- The car started as a hatchback but has since offered its clientele the sedan, wagon and coupe models over the generations.
Revolutionary CVCC is Introduced
Honda is innovative with its design and technology. In 1974, Honda's Compound Vortex Controlled Combustion (CVCC) engine debuted in the Honda Civic. This was significant because it was the first engine to meet emissions standards without the help of a catalytic converter. This is representative of Honda's ongoing commitment to the environment and to seeking out and developing technology that promotes the preservation of the environment. Their technology has always offered consumers socially conscious choices that aid in keeping their costs down with fuel-efficient options.
Welcome Honda Accord
Building upon the success of the Honda Civic, the slightly larger and more luxurious Honda Accord is launched in Canada in 1976. This car still offers many of the same features that drew Canadians to the Honda Civic, like fuel efficiencies.
Honda Manufacturing in Canada
Honda opened its first plant in Canada in 1986 in Alliston, Ontario at the Honda of Canada Mfg (HCM) Plant. This is the first plant on Canadian soil that was built by a Japanese company. The first car that this plant built was the popular Honda Accord.
In 1988, the first Honda Civic was built in Canada at the Alliston plant. Over the following decades, so many of the Civics are produced that this plant becomes the major supplier of Honda Civics to all of North America.
In the generations to follow, a number of different Honda models would be produced at this plant. In 1997, the one-millionth car rolled off the assembly line.
In 1998, a second manufacturing facility was opened in Alliston, which is responsible for producing the spacious, elegant and family-friendly minivan: the Honda Odyssey.
Later on, the revolutionary Honda MDX SUV would be produced at the second Alliston plant as well.
In 2002, the Honda Pilot began production in Alliston; in 2005, production of Honda’s first light truck, the Ridgeline, also began. It is built there exclusively for North American production.
Setting the Standard
Honda has made a number of innovative inroads in Canada. In 2000, North America’s first gasoline-electric hybrid –the Honda Insight- is introduced in Canada.
As Honda celebrates a major milestone in Canada, its 50th Anniversary, it is interesting to look back at how significantly this company has grown and how it has shaped automotive history in this country. They are currently major contributors to the Canadian economy, with Honda and Honda dealers employing just under 20,000 Canadians and purchasing approximately $2.1 billion of goods from Canadian suppliers. Approximately 400,000 vehicles are produced annually at their manufacturing plant.
At Goderich Honda, we love to talk about Honda’s history. Call us today.