Japan’s third largest automaker, Honda Motor Co, has decided to ease the throttle and discard its former goal of achieving annual sales of 6 million units by March 2017.
The news comes straight from the company’s chief executive officer, Takanobu Ito, who conceded that recent and numerous quality issues might have been triggered by the intense pressure to achieve the delivery milestone in time. “There is definitely a sense that there was a tremendous burden on the development team,” commented the CEO during a meeting with journalists in Japan. “In a way, we have shelved the 6 million-car sales target,” he added, with the company now in full swing to develop a new business strategy. Last October Ito himself, along with other 12 top executives, decided to slash their pay for three months after Honda attracted attention with its fifth consecutive recall of the Fit hybrid subcompact – which was unveiled less than a year then.
Honda’s internal quality woes have been dwarfed the multi-million-vehicle recalls needed to replace defective airbags built by Japan’s Takata Corp. Although more than ten automakers have been involved in the recalls, Honda is the auto safety supplier’s largest client, with more than 50 percent of the tally and all related deaths so far occurred in the automaker’s cars. Takata produced airbag inflators can explode with excessive force, sending metal debris inside the cabin at high velocity. Since 2008, a dozen carmakers had to recall around 25 million autos globally for the defect that still has an unknown root cause.