In an interview made by Automotive News, the recently appointed CEO Takahiro Hachigo talks about Honda’s past problems and what he expects for the near future.
Honda reputation was deeply affected by the global recalls of millions of cars fitted with the faulty Takata airbags. More, the predicament of the automaker worsened when another round of recalls targeted the Fit model. Takahiro Hachigo, who become Honda’s new CEO in June, talked with Automotive News about the future plans and what are his forecasts. But first, he wanted to clarify the inflators issue and bring an update over the problem, saying what Honda can do at this point is to increase the recall rate and to try to clarify the cause as quickly as possible, also requesting a third-party investigation in this matter.
The Japanese automaker lost its way in recent years, the reason being the recession that drove down the sales, admits Hachigo. Because of that, various measures had to be taken, including the termination of some models that were under development, and more than that the focus was on six regions worldwide, including emerging markets, to ensure that these businesses became more autonomous. According to him, North America should lead the way in building such regional autonomy and as a result, the American r&d division started to promote and develop various models, but it takes around three years to develop new cars, and only now the results are starting to emerge.
Honda once had a global sales target of 6 million by 2017, but Takahiro Hachigo said the initial thinking was for the brand to become a company that had that kind of scale and now the top priority is delivering better products, rather than focus on volume. He believes that such an excellent product is the new Civic, with more new good models to follow next year for a competitive lineup. Regarding the US market outlook, one issue would be how the China economy evolves. Unless something extreme happens in China, like an extreme slowdown, Hachigo forecasts that the US economy will be stable for the next few years. Another important brand for the US, and for Honda as well, is Acura. Because the company have tried to improve its sedans, such as the TLX and ILX, and the SUV lineup with the MDX and RDX, its CEO predicts a year-on-year sales increase of about 10 percent, and when the NSX flagship will appear next year, the foundation will be very solid.
Via Automotive News