Whilst we recognise the names Honda, Peugeot, Toyota and many others for the cars they produce many of these brands create and sell items other than vehicles and their parts. In this article we’ve rounded up ten of the more surprising products that you might be surprised to realise are also made by popular car manufacturers.
Ten Items You Wouldn’t Expect a Car Company to Make
1. Volkswagen Sausages
Image Sourced: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/vw-volkswagen-currywurst-sausages-emissions-scandal-a6883751.html
Germany is best known for three things: cars, beer and sausages. Volkswagen are one of the top car brands to leave the country but did you know they are also producing hundreds of thousands of sausages? Item number 199 398 500 of the official Volkswagen parts list is a currywurst sausage.
The sausage has been served in the company’s cafeterias since 1973 as part of the breakfast and lunch menus, and it was so popular that it went on to be sold in supermarkets and grocery stores across the country under the Volkswagen Originalteil (original parts) brand.
Today Volkswagen actually sell more sausages than they do cars, and they are exported around the world.
2. BMW Bobsled
Image Sourced: https://www.press.bmwgroup.com/usa/article/detail/T0155529EN_US/fact-sheet:-bmw-team-usa-sponsorship:-driving-athlete-performance?language=en_US
BMW are another of the top German car manufacturers who have expanded beyond the four-wheel vehicles – in fact they’re now designing vehicles that don’t need any wheels with their bobsleds.
In 2018 they partnered with Germany’s Bobsleigh, Luge and Skeleton Federation (BSD) to help redesign the USA Team’s Olympic bobsled. They’ve transferred their understanding of aerodynamic designs, lightweight materials like carbon-fibre and innovative technology into the racing sled.
3. McLaren Bicycles
McLaren is a brand known for their powerful supercars and F1 racing prowess but they also make vehicles for people looking to travel on two wheels under their own power in the form of high-end carbon fibre road racing bicycles.
Just like their cars the McLaren bicycles come with the latest in lightweight aerodynamic design to provide riders with the best possible vehicle for high speed and performance, though this comes with a higher price tag.
4. Porsche Tractors
Image Sourced: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porsche_Super
A lot of us saw Jeremy Clarkson opt for luxury over practicality with Lamborghini tractor that was too large for his land on Clarkson’s Farm, but did you know they’re not the only premium car brand to make a tractor. Ferrari and Porsche have both put their name against an agricultural
Working with the German company Allgaier GMBH and the Austrian company Hofherr Schrantz Porsche produced tractors for nearly 20 years between 1937 to 1956, and was then licenced to Mannesmann AG for a further production between 1956 to 1963.
Today the Porsche tractors are a classic model appreciated by collectors around the world.
5. Peugeot Pepper Mill
Peugeot started life as a family business in 1810 who produced household coffee grinders and pepper mills, and by 1840 their pepper mills had become the standard for the industry and their best selling product. From there they expanded into bicycles and then automotives. As they expanded and became a brand recognised for their cars like the 208 the company kept their pepper mills in production, though under a separate arm.
Today the Peugeot pepper mills continue to be sold and exported around the world and are still recognisable by their lion trademark.
6. Hyundai Container Ships
Image Sourced: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMM_(company)
Like many of the companies featured on this list Hyundai have a separate division that handles their other products and for Hyundai one of these is HMM (previously known as Hyundai Merchant Marine) that produces and manages their shipping container and shipping boats. Their containers and container ships are used to move goods around the world, and in 2020 they unveiled the world’s largest container ship HMM Algeciras.
7. Mitsubishi Hand Dryers
Mitsubishi produce a number of products other than cars including: air conditioners, large scale video displays, packaged foods, solar cells, elevators, escalators, vacuum cleaners, fans, fridges, freezers, ventilators and much more!
One of the additional products that you will see in bathrooms across the UK are their rapid hand dryers we’ve pictured above.
These are part of the Mitsubishi Electric division that was established in 1921 to diversify Mitsubishi’s income streams. As they do not solely rely on their vehicle sales the Mitsubishi company can better handle when the car market goes through low production or sale periods, such as during the international lockdowns during Covid-19.
8. Toyota Sewing Machines
Image Sourced: https://shopping.mercatos.com/en/toyota-fss224-sewing-machine_pid3077362.html
Toyota began as a business that revolutionised the sewing industry with Sakichi Toyoda introduced the automatic weaving loom. The profit from this was then used to fund Kiichiro’s first car, the first Toyota.
So, whilst we might all recognise this Japanese company for their class-leading hybrids they began in the textiles machinery industry and continue to be so with their sewing machines.
In 1946 the first Toyota sewing machine was built and with the success of the HA-1 they went on to open a New York office in 1962 and exporting to Europe in 1966. Since then, they have made a name for themselves as a reliable brand that produce models as beautiful as they are functional. Today their sewing machines continue to be exported around the world and are almost as popular as their cars.
9. Honda Jets
Image Sourced: https://global.honda/newsroom/news/2022/c220224eng.html
Not only do Honda make vehicles for the land but also for the sky with the Honda Jet range.
Honda has never solely produced cars as they started life as a motorcycle producer and have expanded into generators, lawnmowers and powersport equipment as well as private planes.
The HA-420 is a twin engine four to six seater, depending on the internal layout, that was first developed in the 1990s and became available to buy in 2003. Since then, they have continued to meet the regulatory and safety requirements to produce personal jets available for purchase around the world.
10. Ford Airplanes
Image Sourced: https://corporate.ford.com/about/history/company-timeline.html
Honda aren’t the only car company to produce planes, Ford went through a period where they adapted their assembly lines to manufacture their Ford Airlines products.
Just as they revolutionised the assembly line Ford assisted the development of the commercial airline industry as they offered the 35 patents used on their planes to other companies free of royalties, including the patent for their navigational radio beam.
Ford only produced planes for a short period, from 1925 to 1933 but we wanted to include them on this list as their open approach to sharing technology allowed the industry to develop in a difficult post-war time rather than maximising their company’s profits by protecting their intellectual property.
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