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Honda

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Japan-based Honda Motor Company was founded in 1948 by Soichiro Honda. The company got its start making motorbikes, but by the early 1960s, Honda had not only built its first automobiles for the Japanese home market, they had also entered Formula One racing.

The first car they exported to the U.S. was the N600, back in 1970. Then in 1973 came the introduction of the Civic. The car was larger than Honda's previous models but considered very petite compared to Americas compact cars. Its high fuel efficiency coupled with its affordability made it Honda's first American success story. By 1976, the Civic had been joined by the Accord, which quickly became a favorite with U.S. consumers as well.

Both the Accord and Civic, have always sported front-wheel-drive, a long held Honda tradition. The NSX is an all aluminum, mid-engine sports car that introduced variable valve timing technology, Honda calls VTEC.

During the 1980s, Honda's success and its reputation continued to grow.  By 1989 Accord had earned the distinction of becoming America's most popular car. In 1986, Honda created the Acura brand, and became the first Japanese automobile manufacturer to have a dedicated upscale luxury brand.

Today, Honda's lineup is quite varied with their fuel efficient hybrids, a minivan, reliable family sedans, practical SUVs and even a pickup. Honda's brand as a whole, continues to enjoy being one of the most well respected cars in the industry.

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