Honda celebrating 50 years in UK

Some of the cars Honda has brought into the UK since it started trading here 50 years ago.

Some of the cars Honda has brought into the UK since it started trading here 50 years ago. - Credit: supplied

It's 1965 – Thunderbirds are Go and it's go, go, go for Honda when it started trading in the UK. It was also the year of Honda's first Grand Prix win at the Mexico race.

In the last five decades, Honda has achieved milestone after milestone. Now one of the world's top 20 biggest brands, Honda has more than 182,000 employees worldwide and 40 manufacturing facilities making everything from a 25cc leaf blower to a $4m business jet.

Last year, global sales hit 27.3 million – 17 million motorcycles, six million power products and 4.3 million cars. The European arm employs 8,000 people and last year sold almost 1.4 million products.

This year also sees 30 years of Honda of the UK Manufacturing (HUM). A 370-acre site at Swindon employing 3,200 people, HUM has benefitted from a self-funded total investment of £2.2bn.

The motorcycles division is number one in UK with almost 20% market share. With 65 models, it sold 19,000 bikes in the UK last year while the 225-model power products range achieved 50,000 sales. Honda is the number one manufacturer of quad bikes in the UK and the third largest outboard manufacturer.

From a motorsport perspective, it has the most successful British Superbikes team in the UK and the British Touring Car Championship team has just won the drivers and manufacturers championships.

Philip Crossman, managing Director at Honda UK, said: 'This year marks our golden anniversary in the UK with 50 years of rich history in trading bikes, power products and cars. While this year has been significant in refreshing the car range in its entirety, and launching several important new bikes, the Japanese way is to take a much longer viewpoint than just 12 months.

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'Our business has changed radically ever since it launched in the swinging Sixties, adapting and evolving to suit the demands of riders and drivers over the years. I can well imagine that Honda will be a completely different organisation in 2065 – but still selling quality and trusted cars, bikes and power products.'