The Company named Atlas Autos Limited signs Technical Assistance Agreement with Honda Motor Company Limited. The historical ceremony takes place in Tokyo in 1963, where Mr. Yusuf H. Shirazi and Mr. Soichiro Honda grace the occasion with their presence. The journey of association with Honda begins.
Atlas Autos Limited becomes the first two wheeler company in Pakistan to get listed on stock exchange.
The Commercial production commences with sanctioned annual capacity of 6,000 units.
Company launches a series of models. Honda C 50, Honda C 90 and S 90 gained immense popularity among the customers and the journey to become the nations’ ride started.
The Company develops Pakistan’s first gas operated Paint shop. This paint shop results in cost economies and become a source of additional revenue through utilizing its excess capacity.
Mr. Ayub Khan, then President of Pakistan, visits the plant.
Honda Motor Company Limited, Japan continues to extend assistance in the local manufacture to the Company. The team of high class engineers from Japan imparts technical training to local employees and supports the Company in re-organization of its factory affairs.
Atlas Epak Pakistan, a sister concern is established in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). The two Companies exchange locally produced components and parts. In addition, Atlas Epak Limited produces heavy tools and dies used in the manufacture of local components by Atlas Autos Limited.
An in-house engineering work shop is set up in Karachi and Company’s dream of developing a completely localized product takes its first step.
As a result of war of 1971, the Company loses control on Atlas Epak Limited.
President of Pakistan, Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto visits the plant.
The Company faces great challenges due to loss of Atlas Epak Limited. Mr. Soichiro Honda offers markets of Iran and African countries as a way to assist, but Mr. Shirazi remains committed to Pakistan. Under his guidance, the Company continued to invest in machineries and equipments and explore alternate revenue sources through start of core defense production. In order to keep abreast with the latest techniques of management, the Company introduces “Management by Objectives” (MBO) system of management.
The Company continues rapid acceleration in localization of imported components. The Company concluded agreements for the local manufacture of various Honda motorcycle parts.
Faced with growing demand and amidst aggressive expansion plans, the Company launches two of its longest running and most popular production models, the fuel efficient CD 70 and high performance CG 125. Due to their unique features, these models became the Company’s flagship products. Restriction on imported components is lifted and the Company utilizes its full capacity of 18,000 units for the first time.
Panjdarya Limited, an associated company, is incorporated with its plant facility at Sheikhupura for increasing product distribution in Punjab. Second Technical Assistance Agreement is signed with the Honda Motor Company Limited. Relay out, modernization and balancing of manufacturing facility is carried out, which was entirely financed by Company’s own resources.
In collaboration with the Association for Technical Scholarships of Japan, series of technical seminars are held in Pakistan for the first time.
In connection with plant development efforts, several technical teams, including high dignitaries from Honda Motor visits the plant.
A motorcycle Technical Training Centre is established in Lahore to give special attention to train mechanics and users from the rural areas where adequate service facilities are not available.
Panjdarya Limited commences commercial production at its Sheikhupura plant.
The 2 – stroke MB 100 is launched with a memorable advertising campaign.
The President, Mr. Zia ul Haq visits the plant.
First major capacity expansion undertaken by the Company. Accordingly, capacities are expanded and improved quality is achieved in press, die making, tool room and welding shops. Moreover, modern lines for manufacturing of various functional components are added.
New Honda CD 70 with econo-power engine is launched and becomes an instant hit.
Japanese Investment Mission, Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan and senior government officials visit the plant.
With the achievement of localization level of 50%, the Company continues its stride towards the goal of complete indigenization of motorcycle manufacturing in Pakistan. A Quality Circle Movement, called “Ala Mayar Circle” is started aiming at fostering improvement in management, quality control and manufacturing techniques.
Atlas Autos Limited organizes the first ever Vendor Conference. The conference serves as a platform for exchange of ideas and future plans with vendors and builds long term relationship to improve quality, safety and business performance.
Prime Minister Muhammad Khan Junejo visits the Company.
Engine Parts Manufacturing Plant is installed. This project introduces new advanced technology in engine manufacturing in the country and provides opportunities for development of local vendor industry.
Joint venture Agreement is entered with Honda Motor where it acquires 10% equity in Atlas Autos Limited. Mr. K. Nagata, Director of Honda Motor Company Limited visits Pakistan to formalize the agreement. The association aimed at continuous improvement in products to satisfy the changing needs of the users and to strengthen the Company’s technological and production capabilities.
Technical Collaboration Agreement is signed between Panjdarya Limited and Showa Manufacturing Company for manufacture of shock absorbers.
Board of Directors approved the scheme of amalgamation of Atlas Autos Limited and Panjdarya Limited to consolidate Honda motorcycle operations in Pakistan. The name of the new merged Company is changed to Atlas Honda Limited. The merger is envisaged to give the business additional financial strength and flexibility. With this merger, Honda Motor’s holding in the merged company increased to 20%. Mr. Soichiro Honda visits the Company.
The Company continues to expand its model lineup with the launch of new Honda CD 70.
CG 125 engine parts manufacturing plant is installed at Sheikhupura and new model of CG 125 is launched.
To strengthen market position, a new Honda CD70 model with the latest CDI technology is launched.
The Company managed to formalize 4 technical assistance agreements between Japanese companies and vendors. Thus, The Company continues to play a key role in transfer of technology and vendor development in Pakistan.
Atlas Honda signs an export agreement with Honda Motor Company Limited and initiates its first exports to Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Middle East and Central Asia.
The Company receives ISO 9002 certification for both Karachi and Sheikhupura plants.
The Company receives Excellence Award from the Employers’ Federation of Pakistan for being among top ten companies for its human resource and industrial relation policies and practices.
The Company holds 1st ever dealer convention of motorcycle industry in Pakistan.
Company achieves the localization level of 85%. It deleted hi-tech components such as CDI units, Drum Assembly and Gear Shift components through transfer of technology from Japanese companies.
The Company achieves the land mark sales level of 100,000 units by selling 117,209 units in the year.
The governance practices of the Company are recognized by top independent institutes. Accordingly, Company receives “Best Corporate Report” and “Top 25 Companies” award.
An invigorating advertising campaign is launched on the electronic media with the tag line of “Mein Te Honda-i Le Saan” (I will buy Honda only). The advertisement remained instrumental in reinforcing the Company’s quality and brand in the consumers’ minds through humongous recall value.
The Company enters 100cc category market with the launch of the Honda CD100.
The Company once again receives the “Best Corporate Report” Award.
The Company extends the capacity at Sheikhupura plant by establishing, state of the art, 500k Synchronized Assembly Plant. The plant having the production capacity up to 500,000 units is inaugurated by Mr. Takeo Fukui,President and CEO of Honda Motor Company Limited. The plant incorporates “Honda Global Standards” including implementation of the unique concept of “Quality Gates” for quality assurance.
A new 5 gear model, Honda CG 125 Deluxe is launched.
The Company hosts 15th New Honda Circle Asia-Oceania Convention, the first to be hosted in Pakistan. The event showcases the best circles in Asia Oceania region.
SAP, the leading ERP system in the world, is implemented.
The Company receives Top 25 Companies Award for the second time.
The Company launches CD 125 Deluxe Euro II model. The Company’s corporate reporting practices were once again recognized by local and international institutions.
The Company surpasses the 90% localization mark.
The Company crosses the annual sales benchmark of 500,000 units.
The Company expands the dealership network to beyond 500 sales dealers.
Company introduces CD Dream, the modernized model of CD70.
Company celebrates it’s 50 years anniversary.
The Company attains the “Debt Free” status by completely repaying its borrowings.
The Company launches new model “Pridor” in 100 CC category.
Atlas Honda becomes the first motorcycle company in Pakistan to have all its models compliant with environment friendly minimum emission standards of Euro II technology.
The cornerstones of a lasting business relationship: Friendship, Trust, Steadfastness and Collaboration.
The key pillar of Atlas Honda’s success is a partnership built on strong foundations. It was half a century ago in 1963 when Atlas Group and Honda Motor Company Limited, signed the technical collaboration agreement for motorcycle manufacturing in Pakistan. This agreement was the promise of a lasting partnership.
Over the years, Pakistan faced numerous economic and socio-political challenges. Each decade brought its own difficulties,ranging from military coups, import embargoes, the East Pakistan War, Nationalization, Afghan refugee crisis and the war on terror. However, the partnership proved to be inseparable. Ups and downs are part and parcel of any business environment. However, it is the willingness to stand by each other in difficult times that defines the strength of collaboration. An ideal bond of friendship and trust, the partnership between Atlas Group and Honda Motor stood tall in the face of adversity, survived the test of time and evolved into an exemplary association for all to appreciate.
Over the course of this journey, Honda Motor supported Atlas Honda Limited (the Company) in all aspects of business. It shared its technical expertise and allowed Company‘s engineers to be trained at its modernized facilities. It helped the Company in developing the vendor industry in Pakistan as well as in implementing vendors’ training programs. Honda Motor played a significant role in the localization process of imported parts and has been pivotal in the launch of each model. Needless to say, Honda Motor’s contribution in propelling the Company to the top of the Pakistan’s corporate ladder has been monumental.
Atlas Group and Honda Motor are closer than ever today, holding true to the promise made by Mr. Yusuf H. Shirazi and Mr.Soichiro Honda five decades ago. The management of Atlas Group is proud of its affiliation with Honda Motor and hopes that this partnership flourishes generation after generation in the years to come.
Like a responsible member of society, Atlas Honda parented the local vendor industry until it stood on its own feet, resulting in enhancement of engineering skills in Pakistan and creation of thousands of jobs.
While Atlas Honda Limited (the Company) embraced itself for being the torch bearer of the two wheeler market in the country, a challenge soon appeared: Affordability.Machineries, technology and most raw materials were initially imported from abroad. Motorcycles were not cheap to make due to devaluation of Pak Rupee. Also, the pocket of the consumer was limited on account of inflation. Rising costs were pushing the sales price upwards and reducing consumers’ purchasing power. Further, socio-political instability didn’t make life any easier and played its part in increasing cost of production.
Something needed to be done. A balanced response was required in order to keep motorcycles affordable for customers,keeping business profitable for shareholders and saving precious foreign reserves of the country. The solution was in localization; a step by step approach of developing local vendors and maintaining the same quality standards which were associated with foreign suppliers. This process not only changed the Company, but became the cornerstone of its business philosophy.
The idea was to develop engineering competences along with manufacturing capacities locally, in order to reduce reliance on imports. The Company realized the importance of localization very early in its journey and the process commenced in the late 1970s. Throughout the years, numerous parts and machineries were localized: frame body, fuel tank, hub & panel, CDI and regulators in the 1980s; crankcase, headlights and rims in the 1990s; counter shaft, main shaft, gear, ACG and crank shaft in the first decade of the new millennium are just a few of many components that were successfully localized.
Due to this emphasis on localization, the Company has played a major role in development of local vendor industry in Pakistan. It provided technological and financial assistance to vendors. Honda Motor Company Limited also played its part by providing the necessary training and monitoring of quality standards. In a country dominated by agriculture and textiles, developing intellectual knowledge of an industry previously unknown was not an easy task. Numerous obstacles came in the way. However, the steadfast dedication of the Company resulted in great achievements on account of localization. Like a responsible member of society, the Company parented the local vendor industry until it stood on its own feet, resulting in enhancement of engineering skills in Pakistan and creation of thousands of jobs. The Company continues to support the vendors in all ways possible and conducted various programs for improving quality and capacity of vendors.
Today, the Company is proud to claim that 93% of its motorcycle components have been successfully localized. Localization is a continuous process that is monitored against annual targets at a strategic level. One of the Company’s greatest achievements in its 50 years history is the creation and development of the local vendor industry. With rising inflation and increasing pressure on local currency, localization will continue to remain one of the key principles and an integral part of management’s long-term strategy. The ultimate objective is to achieve 100% localization and the Company is well on its way towards achieving that dream.
When it comes to precision and technology, Atlas Honda Limited has always been proactive in its research and development to produce a combination of quality and technologically advanced landmark products.
In a constantly evolving business environment, creating the right value proposition for the relevant customer is a key challenge. Technology plays an important role in the entire process. When it comes to precision and technology, Atlas Honda Limited (the Company) remains proactive in producing a combination of quality and technologically advanced products. Every Honda two-wheeler comes with a promise of delivering solid performance, high durability and amazing fuel efficiency. That is why in every era, the Company manufactured iconic models such as C 50, C 90, MB 100, CD 70 and CG 125 and created unforgettable memories in the hearts and minds of Honda lovers.
In a competitive market dominated by 2-stroke motorcycles, the Company introduced the 4-stroke technology and set the stage for a bright, economy-driven future. The Honda CD 70 and CG 125 continue to win the hearts of the customers, and are to date, the most successful models in the Company’s production lineup with the highest share in the motorcycle market.
Environment sustainability lies at the core of our manufacturing process and is a key hallmark of the Company. By aligning itself with international standards and adapting to the demands of the market, the Company was the first to manufacture Euro II emission controlled engines for a healthy and green environment.
The forward looking philosophy that nurtured Atlas Honda motorcycles, from concept to production, is also responsible for making the Company a flag bearer of environment friendly motorcycles in Pakistan. Recognizing sustainability as a platform for innovation, the Company has positioned the next generation environment friendly motorcycle as an area of continued business focus. Further, the strengthening of existing strategic alliances and creation of new frontiers of technological collaborations will create an unmatched value proposition for the targeted customer and provide the foundation to put this dream into motion.
A slogan that resonated with the target audience, boosting the sales to record highs.
In every era, Atlas Honda’s advertising has left its mark. Whether it was the grandeur of the MB 100 television commercial of the 70’s; the power of ‘Aik litre, Aik bhi bohat hae, Aik litre mein 70 kilometer’ of the 80’s; or the persuasiveness of ‘Cash Deposit 70’ of the 90’s, Atlas Honda Limited (the Company) has always set new standards of communication in the category.
The communication challenge identified at the start of this millennium was: to occupy a permanent place in the hearts and minds of the people of Pakistan. This complex communication task was turned into reality through an advertising campaign that became an instant hit. The retelling of how the famous slogan, ‘Mein Te Honda-i Le Saan’ came to pass and how it shaped the positioning of Honda motorcycles is not just a mere anecdote, but an account of the sheer power of words and the impact it had on the Company’s history.
Consumer connects and research done on the target audience revealed that the rural man demanded a fuel-efficient bike, combined with looks that made a statement. The overwhelming reality witnessed was that: given a choice, everyone’s wish was to get a Honda. Getting a Honda represented the fulfillment of their dreams, and that is exactly the sentiment captured by the five words ‘Mein Te Honda-i Le Saan’; a slogan that resonated with the target audience, boosting the sales to record highs.
It was the first time a major national brand had adopted a vernacular dialect in its slogan. Capitalizing on the exponential viewership growth of satellite channels, a series of television commercials were launched with imagery of lush green fields and a reflection of the hospitality and culture of the land, strengthened by the powerful musical score of ‘Mere dil pe Honda raj kare’. The campaign was an instant hit. The line ‘Mein Te Honda-i Le Saan’ achieved almost cult status and it became part of all subsequent advertising. The campaign also won numerous advertising awards.
With a focus on the aspiring urban youth, the latest set of television commercials are bolder, modern, reflecting a dynamism that does justice to the image of Honda motorcycles, as it looks ahead with The Power of Dreams.
Over the next several years, these high level commitments would be translated by aspiring to enrich customer experiences.
Celebrating its 50th Anniversary, Atlas Honda Limited’s (the Company) journey to the next fifty years is about to begin. The genesis and growth of the Company over the past fifty years is a great success story. A success based on entrepreneurial flair of Mr. Yusuf H. Shirazi, his commercial acumen and the spirit to push the boundaries and move beyond the horizon.
In the coming decades, “Atlas Way” will remain the guiding principle for the Company to inculcate a value system that helps the Company to excel. To excel in its drive for continuous improvement and to realize its passion to deliver sustainable solutions to customers is at the heart of Company’s mission… to fulfill the dreams for the future!
Over the next several years, these high level commitments would be translated by aspiring to enrich customer experiences through our planned foray into new motorcycle segments.
The new model line is set to offer distinct styling, handling, riding and overall build quality to an unprecedented degree and will strengthen the Company as the powerhouse of technology. Building on the momentum generated by recent successful product launches, the Company is also exploring a range of innovative concepts in other product segments. These game changing initiatives are set to put the Company two wheelers in driveways of a wider and more diverse range of customers, thus marking an entry into “the million club” of sales.
The path ahead is fundamentally different than the one the Company has travelled. In the decades ahead, the solutions needed for achievement of goals must be systematic, sustainable and futuristic. Weaving social and environmental approaches into innovative business strategy and operations, Atlas Honda is embarking on a new journey. The next 50 years will see Atlas Honda transform the evolving societies and changing resources – all with its iconic style, performance and value.