After unprecedented quality issues at Honda, the automaker plans to shift the strategy and reorganize its operations so it can develop better products.
Recalls related to Takata’s faulty airbags and quality issues with the Fit small cars and Vezel compact SUVs made Honda change its president one year ago, naming Takahiro Hachigo to replace Takanobu Ito. And now, the new head is facing similar challenges, because the Japanese automaker found out some engine issues on its 2016 Civic cars only months after starting sales. Hachigo is determined to make some changes to revamp the company and to win back customers’ trust. After announcing some management shifts at the top, the CEO said that recent problems were driven by the company’s desire to “launch models optimized for each region at a pace and scale beyond our means.” Therefore, vehicle development has to slow down in order to ensure the quality of the products. Also, “we began to see more organizational issues, such as unclear responsibilities of each area and insufficient level of delegation,” he said. “This could seriously harm the driving force engine behind Honda’s creativity.”
As part of the new structural changes, Honda will add some new positions, including new roles in charge of the area of product development, a new position for quality control for all Honda and Acura models and new positions in charge of supervising the design process, on a global basis. Furthermore, there will be new responsibilities in other areas, such as production, purchasing, quality, service and sales.
Separately, Honda detailed its latest recall, for the 2016 Civic, before Hachigo’s announcement of management and organizational changes. The automaker is calling back 42,000 models with 2-litre engines after learning of an engine fire and another unconfirmed report of an injury related to poorly assembled engine pistons.