The Honda Motor Company first entered the European market in the early 1960s through the sale of its motorcycles. The company’s motor vehicles were introduced into Europe at a much later date. Honda’s motor vehicle sales in Europe have been relatively poor, especially in the previous five years. Despite its huge success in the North American market, Honda is struggling to gain a significant foothold in the European market. Honda executives wonder why their global strategy is sputtering. Is global strategy just a pipedream, or is something wrong with Honda's European strategy?
History of Honda
In 1946 Souichiro Honda founded the Honda Technology Institute. The company started as a motorcycle producer and by the 1950s had become extremely successful in Japan. In 1956, Honda entered the US market and was able to position itself effectively, selling small sized motorcycles. In the early 1960s, the company commenced automobile manufacturing and participated in Formula-1 racing (F-1) to assist its technology development. Thanks mainly to its F-1 efforts, Honda became recognized, not only in Japan but in the rest of the world as well, as a technological savvy company. Up to the early 1990s the company had experienced serious organizational mismanagement resulting from tension between the technology side and the marketing-sales side. The situation became so dire, that the technology biased president and founder, Souichiro Honda, was forced out, due to his neglect in important marketing decisions. After Souichiro Honda’s departure, the company became more marketing-technology balanced, and by 1999 was second in sales only to Toyota in the Japanese market. The underlying success of the company is best summarized in its mission statement, “pleasure in buying, selling and producing”, and “Beat GM, not Toyota”. Honda currently has 25 separate factories in the world, and its operations cover automobiles, motorcycles, financial...