Honda has established global pre-eminence in small cars and automotive-engine technology that has helped it become the No. 2 Japanese-owned brand in the U.S. market. In 1946, Soichiro Honda established a technical-research institute in Japan, to develop and produce small two-cycle motorbike engines. His company would go on to produce esteemed motorcycles, lawn mowers and other engine-based products. But it was in automobiles that the company really made its mark. Honda opened its first storefront in Los Angeles in 1959. Soon it was epitomizing the Japanese challenge to the U.S. automotive status quo. Its first car, the Civic hatchback, debuted in the U.S. at the outset of the first energy crisis in 1973 and was the first car to meet American emissions standards without use of a catalytic converter. By 1982, Honda had become the first Japanese brand to build a plant in the U.S., with operations in Marysville, Ohio, to assemble the Accord compact; in the late Eighties, Accord became the first model from an international automaker to become America's best-selling vehicle. Honda kept adding products but refrained from expanding its lineup in the U.S. as much as Toyota or Nissan. Still, in 1999, it was Honda's two-seat Insight that became the first hybrid-powertrain vehicle in the U.S. market, and it has introduced a new Insight for 2010.