May 4, 2009
The Civic, while larger than most of Honda’s previous models, was much lighter and smaller than any of the American cars produced at the time.
Many different ideas have been put forth as to why Honda has been so successful in the United States market but whatever the reason, the fact remains that since Honda first established a foot hold in here 1972, it has meet with overwhelming success.
This success began with the introduction of the Honda Civic.t the time. In 1972, just as the gas crisis was taking a bite out Detroit, another impediment to American Manufacturers was on the horizon. The Environmental Protection Agency, still relatively young at the time, had just passed a series of emissions laws that required American auto makers to install expensive catalytic converts to the exhaust systems of all vehicles produced for United States markets. This increased sticker prices dramatically. At the same time that these things were taking place, Honda had been working diligently to perfect its new CVCC stratified Charge engine. This engine, introduced in the 1975 Civic, could pass emissions test without an expensive catalytic converter. The price difference as well as the dramatically higher fuel efficiency of the Civic drew customers away from the higher priced American models. For the first time, the big three in Detroit sensed a shift in loyalty from the American consumer. More concerned with their wallets, American car buyers began to dessert the American brands.
By 1976, Honda had broken into the car market in the United States. By 1982, Honda was building car plants in the United States. The first was the Accord plant in Marysville, Ohio. With its North American headquarters situated in Torrance, California, Honda now has two other plants in Ohio as well as one in Alabama and South Carolina.
Honda was quickly gain a reputation in the automotive world and in 1989 introduced a concept that would alter the automotive industry yet again with the unveiling of its newest design: the VTEC engine. A revolutionary technology, the VTEC is a variable valve timing system that improves efficiency and performance of car engines across a wide span of speeds. The concept involves the tuning of one engine to operate at different settings for different speeds by combining two different size cam lobes that engage at different speeds. The Shorter cam lobe operates at low speed driving when more power and lower torque are needed. The Longer cam operates at high speeds when continued accelaeration is desired. Other car manufacturers hurried to produce their own versions and this technology is standard for most auto manufacturers today.
Honda actually makes more than just cars as most are aware. The Japanese company manufactures Trucks, motorcycles, scooters, ATV’s, watercraft and most other items with a gasoline engine attached. Today Honda is the largest manufacturer of engines in the world. While most Japanese automakers have reputations for dependability, Honda automobiles have surpassed this to own one of the top spots in not only the United States but around the world.
Ronnie Tanner is a contributing writer at SW Engines. He writes about used Honda engines and other departmental updates for the company.