In 1986, a small team at Honda Australia explored the idea of starting a lawn mower assembly and production line to produce mowers for the local Australian market.
By late 1987, Japanese engineers arrived in Australia to assist with setting up the assembly line and soon after HMA (Honda Manufacturing Australia) was born. The original assembly line team consisted of seven – two of those workers still work at Honda today.
On 17 February 1988, the first Australian assembled lawn mower rolled off the local assembly line, it was a HRU194PU (push mower).
Staff were tasked with naming the new mower and settled on ‘Buffalo’, a name that is still in use today across the expanded mower range.
It was in May 1989 when the first self-propelled mower, the HRU214SU, rolled off the production line.
Australian Honda mowers quickly gained a strong reputation for their quality and reliability, to the point where Honda had an 80% share of the commercial mower market.
Mowers were not the only top seller for Honda in the Australian market, with quality Honda engines powering products since the 1970s.
The ‘GX range’ of engines came to market in the early 1980s and are still found on virtually every type of Australian made product of commercial and domestic capacities – including pumps, generators and construction equipment in Australia.
With this growth and diversity in the product line up, it was clear Honda Australia needed to expand.
In late 1991 the Honda Motorcycle and Power Equipment Company, known as Honda MPE, was created.
As a subsidiary of Honda Australia, it supplied equipment to industry, private users and motorcycle riders.
Almost every Australian home was touched by a Honda on a daily basis – every time the ubiquitous red Honda CT110 ‘Postie Bike’ delivered the mail, in fact.
It has proven to be such a popular machine that a Postie Bike Grand Prix is held each year in Cessnock NSW, while the Variety Club uses the diminutive bikes for an annual charity fundraiser.
Over the past 50 years, Honda has continued to produce a motorcycle for every Australian. From enthusiastic kids and commuters, to fully-fledged Supersport fanatics and agricultural four-wheel product, purpose built for farmers.
If there is a need, Honda will build it and build it well, with an enviable reputation for quality and reliability no other brand can boast.
Safety and training are also a big part of Honda’s history globally and in Australia, with HART (Honda Australia Rider and driver Training) opening its doors locally in 1989. HART is considered the leading motorcycle trainer in the country, training over 25,000 students each year.
“Our customers are just as passionate about our products as we are – we would not have been the No. 1 motorcycle brand in Australia consecutively for over 15 years if this wasn’t the case and that is something we are really proud of.
Honda is a brand many Australian consumers truly rely on and have done so for the past 50 years,” said Honda Motorcycle and Power Equipment Managing Director, Mr Robert Toscano.
“Our products fit so well into daily life, be it our motorcycles, our two and four-wheeled farm products that help power the Aussie farm industry, right through to our industrial, domestic and commercial customers that use our engines.
It’s been a very successful and rewarding 50 years for Honda in Australia and we are certainly looking forward to the next 50 years.”
For further information on Honda Australian assembled lawn mower models go to: www.honda.com.au