Takeo Fujisawa (1910-1988), accomplice of Soichiro Honda in shaping and constructing Honda Motor Firm by its first 24 years, has immediately been inducted into Detroit’s Automotive Corridor of Fame. He joins Honda himself, who was in 1989 the primary Japanese automotive govt to be so honored.
Fujisawa grew to become Honda’s enterprise supervisor in October of 1949—a disaster time when the corporate “…might go bust any day now” from lack of capital in Japan’s post-World Battle II despair. His profession as much as that second had been extraordinarily assorted, exposing him to many various individuals and concepts. He and Honda have been very totally different, however their talents and perceptions have been complementary. By the determined work of holding the corporate’s doorways open, the 2 males discovered they may belief one another.
Like Toyota, they have been saved by the “particular procurements growth” created by the Korean Battle, which started in June 1950. Receiving an enormous order for auxiliary engines, Honda Motor was saved.
Fujisawa noticed there was no safety in combating one disaster after one other, nevertheless it was inconceivable to calmly plan Honda’s future whereas “placing out fires” and staving off collectors. He created a separate house for himself—his “tea arbor”—the place he might occasionally relax, learn, and assume. No phone. No shouting. Lengthy-range planning of product and growth befell right here.
Honda Motor’s first product had been two-stroke clip-on engines for bicycles; you may see them within the Honda Assortment Corridor at Motegi. Subsequent got here Dream Kind-D, a 98cc two-stroke bike. When Fujisawa and his spouse objected that its sound and smoke have been unattractive, Honda insisted he might engineer round them.
Lastly Fujisawa needed to insist, and such was the mutual belief between these two males that Honda was in a position to settle for this. The end result was the 146cc four-stroke overhead-valve Mannequin E, then the Cub, and in 1958, the bestselling street car of all time, Tremendous Cub, of which greater than 100 million have been offered.
Sooner or later Fujisawa despatched a senior managing director to America, regardless of market analysis revealing “zero demand” for motorbikes there. Fujisawa advised him, “The longer term destiny of [the] bike is there.” Fujisawa, figuring out Individuals had disposable revenue, believed demand may very well be created. Individuals quickly “met the nicest individuals on a Honda” and the US bike market doubled in quantity from 1965 to 1970. Once I visited Harley-Davidson in 1966, I used to be advised, “All the things Honda has carried out available in the market has helped our gross sales.”
Fujisawa understood that one Soichiro Honda was not sufficient. “Until we produce not one however a variety of Soichiro Hondas, we can’t function a producing firm with peace of thoughts.” Concepts should be the driving drive.
Implementing this determination would take 15 years, however the end result was Honda R&D, a spot the place engineers might experiment with out fearing failure. Kids do that naturally; we name it play. When Bell Labs operated this manner, the transistor was created.
A later disaster developed when Honda insisted that air-cooled autos should be the long run—the Honda 1300. Fujisawa noticed prices rising and confidence falling amongst Honda engineers. Failure grew to become a chance. Fujisawa supplied Honda a alternative: Stay president and tolerate improvement of water-cooled engines, or work solely as an engineer. Air-cooled improvement was stopped and R&D switched to emissions management. The introduction of Honda’s CVCC combustion course of in late 1972 established Honda as an automotive innovator of first rank.
Fujisawa retired in 1973, leaving a legacy of administration by wide-ranging information and evaluation.