Begins production of motorcycles in the U.S.
The Company (Kawasaki Aircraft) started full-scale motorcycle business in 1960, and forged ahead in the U.S. market in the late 1960s. Motorcycle sales subsidiaries were set up in Chicago in 1966 and in New Jersey the next year. In 1968, Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. (KMC) was established by merging the two companies, and it aggressively promoted sales.
In addition to strengthening its sales network, the Company introduced successful new motorcycles such as the H1 in 1969, and the Z1 in 1972, which made Kawasaki a household name in the U.S.
In that era, strong demand for motorcycles was expected worldwide, especially in the U.S. Therefore, in 1974, KMC established a new motorcycle factory in Lincoln, Nebraska, which was the first U.S. manufacturing site for Japanese motorcycle/automobile makers. In January 1975, the new plant started producing the KZ series motorcycles, and in the same year also began producing Jet Ski® watercraft. The KMC Lincoln Plant formed a new subsidiary, Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp., U.S.A. (KMM) in 1981. Today, KMM has a factory in Maryville, Missouri in addition to the Lincoln Plant, and manufactures a wide range of products such as motorcycles, ATVs, Jet Ski watercraft, general purpose gasoline engines, industrial robots and rolling stock.