As the safety campaigns are still persisting, Honda hopes to mend the situation by making some important shifts at the company’s top management structure.
The latest safety issues involving one of Honda’s most crucial cars seems to have triggered some management changes. The Japanese automaker is preparing to recall the 2016 Civic compact sedan, only few months after the model made its official debut, because of potential engines failures. This campaign is the icing on a not very tasty cake for Honda, which is in a middle of a massive recall move forced by Takata’s faulty inflators. Since 2008, the carmaker has recalled vehicles to replace about 30 million defective explosive inflators, a deadly issue that have been linked to nine fatalities in Honda models, and the cause of death in a 10th incident is still being investigated. Also, quality issues made Honda change its president one year ago, naming Takahiro Hachigo to replace Takanobu Ito. Now, Japan’s third-largest automaker announced that Chairman Fumihiko Ike will retire along with Executive Vice President Tetsuo Iwamura and seven other top executives. Seiji Kuraishi, currently in charge of the automaker’s China business, will replace Iwamura, 64, as executive vice president.
“Their quality problem is still going on,” Koji Endo, an analyst with Advanced Research Japan, told to Bloomberg before Honda announced managements changes. “It’s not just one person’s responsibility; it’s the responsibility of the whole organization. I don’t know if just switching the top can solve all the problems.”
Yoshiyuki Matsumoto, the chief operating officer for auto operations, will become president of Honda’s research and development unit, replacing Koichi Fukuo, who is retiring. Yasuhide Mizuno, the head of Honda’s joint venture with Guangzhou Automobile Group, will succeed Kuraishi, 57, to lead the Japanese automaker’s China operations. Asako Suzuki, the chief of the company’s joint venture with Dongfeng Motor Corp., will become Honda’s first female operating officer.