Historical Photo Montage

DENSO History Stories

December 2024 will mark DENSO's 75th anniversary. 
Leading up to and after the milestone, we are sharing stories from every corner of the company that highlight the impact our team members, products and culture have had on society over the last 75 years. 
This rich legacy is a reminder of how our teams continually strive to contribute to a better world, no matter the challenge, and inspires us to carry it on well into the future.

  • 2001 Vision Group Photo

DENSO Spirit… Written In Our DNA

In the mid-1930s, before DENSO was “officially” established, in a space no more than 12 square yards, a few pioneering engineers began fabricating our first electrical products. There, a spirit - a vision of possibilities - emerged.

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  • Associates Working on the Worm Farm

Supporting the Community… Even the Worms

More than 75,000 California red worms, living on a Mexican farm by the DENSO Apodaca plant, enjoy a daily dining experience that’s like no other.

And while their menu might sound creepy, for these wiggly crawlers, it’s a delight.

The hungry worms are “hooked” on their daily fare of food scraps from DENSO’s cantina, its bathrooms’ used toilet (sanitary) paper and resulting wastewater, as well as garden waste from the plant’s grounds.

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  • Man holding a basket of parts

Demand For “Re-man”: DENSO Remanufacturing Success

DENSO’s core values of foresight, credibility and collaboration served the company well in the mid-1980s as it launched its remanufacturing operations with a small “re-man” production line in California.

Under the auspices of the DENSO Products and Services America (DPAM) group, a dedicated team began the decade-long process of fine-tuning the engineering, production and marketing capabilities needed to build a successful, high-quality remanufacturing operation.

“We started in 1987 and grew the business deliberately and over time,” said Jaime Franco, Director at DPAM Murietta Operations. “We did marketing research and dealer education, as well as fine-tuned our expertise and production capabilities. Our goal was to focus on DENSO’s quality to separate us from our competitors.”

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  • Volunteers Cheering

Where the River Flows, DENSO Volunteers Will Go

Throughout our history, DENSO team members across the globe have donated time and resources to help create greener, cleaner, and safer communities. It’s not uncommon to see a sea of DENSO red shirts working together to collect trash, plant trees, beautify parks, and dive into rivers in an effort to protect our environment.

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  • DENSO Accepts Award

Recognized for Protecting the Environment

Since the start of the company in 1949, DENSO Corporation has focused on making environmental protection and preservation a worldwide goal.  The company strives every day to incorporate sustainability into its products, processes and facilities.

While today the company has rebranded its efforts toward the Two Great Causes – Green and Peace of Mind – DENSO officially committed to environmental protection with the launch of DENSO EcoVision 2005 in 1997. 

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  • Eco Park Sign

From Idea to Reality: DENSO's EcoPark in Athens, Tennessee

DENSO's EcoPark in Athens, Tennessee, began as just an idea in the mind of Shawn Bryant. Throughout the years, that idea has blossomed into a treasured area used by DENSO associates and the community.

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  • DENSO GO Electric Car

DENSO GOes Electric and Starts the Green Journey

In 1949, the year DENSO was established, Japan was still recovering from World War II. Gasoline, food and other goods were in short supply. Many manufacturers had to get creative to keep the economy, and cars, moving.

While many auto manufacturers turned to charcoal to power vehicles, DENSO took a different path, developing an electric vehicle known as DENSO GO. 

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  • Ground Breaking

Personal Reflections: The Start of DENSO International America

The opening of DENSO's North America headquarters made a significant impact on the company and individuals who worked there. They share their personal stories and reflections on being a part of DENSO International America's start. 

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  • Employees celebrate new logo

Hello. My Name is DENSO.

On July 1, 1996, Nippondenso companies in North America became “DENSO” companies as part of a worldwide company name change. Nippondenso Co., Ltd., our worldwide headquarters in Kariya, Japan, would later change its corporate name to DENSO Corporation on October 1, 1996.

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  • DLMI First Shipment photo

Getting the Right Parts on the Right Trucks: DENSO’s North America Logistics Centers

Established in 2007, DENSO's North America Logistic Centers are responsible for processing more than 40 commodities for a variety of products and customers. They are critical to ensuring DENSO meets customer demands and deadlines for an uninterrupted production process. 

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  • DENSO Race Car

23 Years of Giving: The DENSO North America Foundation

Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”   

These are words that DENSO, with its mission of making the world a better place, has lived by for decades. But in 2001, the company set out to “do more” and became the first Japan-based automotive supplier in North America to establish a charitable foundation here.  

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  • DENSO Chicago Office

A Mission in Motion: DENSO in North America

As a small but industrious team of DENSO employees prepared to set up shop in the United States in the mid-1960s, a gregarious American businessman was knocking on DENSO’s door in Japan seeking a starter for his U.S.-manufactured outboard motor.  

Norm Owen, from the McCulloch Co., had seen a magazine story about a button-controlled starter and surprised DENSO’s Tokyo office with a visit to learn more. DENSO leadership, recognizing the sharp knock of opportunity, soon dispatched Akira “Andy” Kataoka, who had helped design the part, to Los Angeles to manage the McCulloch business and begin building business relationships.  

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  • Akira "Andy" Kataoka Pouring Coffee

Our First Years – How DENSO Started in North America

By all accounts, Akira “Andy” Kataoka was “all over the map” when he first came to the United States. But DENSO’s first North American employee wasn’t wandering aimlessly or indiscriminate in his destinations, as the idiom suggests.  

Instead, he carefully plotted and planned across the country on a Greyhound bus with a suitcase full of starter generators and the bold dream of establishing DENSO in the American automotive market.

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