In 1959, American Honda was established in a storefront on Pico Boulevard near downtown Los Angeles. Two years later, looking for ways to become part of American society and the local community, the fledgling company agreed to partner with the Tournament of Roses for the 1962 Rose Parade, supplying two-wheel vehicles for Parade operations. It was from these humble beginnings that a long and successful partnership was born.
“The relationship between Honda and the Tournament of Roses has grown organically over the years,” said Steve Morikawa, vice president, Corporate Relations & Social Responsibility for American Honda. “But at its heart, our participation has always been about wishing families a happy new year.”
What started as two-wheeled vehicles has grown many times over. Though the years, many Honda products have been called into service on New Year’s Day, including generators, automobiles and scooters. Honda became the official vehicle in 1994, providing automobiles and vans for official Tournament transportation needs, as well as all the now-ubiquitous motor scooters used by white-suited Tournament volunteers. Honda’s multipurpose utility vehicle, Big Red, made its Rose Parade debut in 2010.
As the Parade has grown and evolved, so has the relationship with Honda. The company became the first-ever presenting sponsor of the Rose Parade in 2011 (the only company to ever hold this distinction), and the sponsor of the opening show extravaganza in 2015.
Honda has also been a float participant for 40 years, bringing its “Challenging Spirit” to the Parade by entering floats that are innovative and unique, a philosophy that has led to some spectacular sights on New Year’s Day, including a 207-foot- long train laden with fireworks; a working roller-coaster; and a 50 foot-tall humanoid robot, to name just a few.
As the presenting sponsor, Honda’s float introduces the Parade theme and is no longer part of the judging process, but prior to 2011, Honda’s entries were award-winners, earning 15 trophies between 1995 and 2010.
Honda and the Tournament of Roses also employ Honda’s innovative environmental technologies to help the Parade function more efficiently and reduce its carbon footprint. For the past seven years, Honda’s float has been propelled by a specially configured hybrid, low-emission engine to help the float function more efficiently and reduce its carbon footprint. And, the parade theme banner is also powered by a low emission Honda hybrid engine.
Honda and the Tournament of Roses have worked side-by-side for more than 50 years to bring entertainment and tradition to people around the world and to enhance the Southern California communities in which we all work and live. The Tournament of Roses is proud to have Honda as a partner in America’s New Year Celebration.by