Japan’s third-largest automaker, Honda, has been at the center of Takata’s global airbag inflator recall crisis, being the Japanese supplier’s largest client.
Now the carmaker, which has seen all five deaths attributed to the faulty Takata airbag inflators occur in its vehicles, has decided to seek a senior quality engineer that would oversee audits of suppliers’ quality assurance. The search for the proper candidate in the US began last month, on November 7, the same day that the US senators asked the Justice Department to start a criminal investigation into Takata Corp.
Honda has also opened new positions in quality- and safety-related departments because President Takanobu Ito is currently navigating not just the global safety crisis triggered by Takata, but also several separate recalls that have bewildered some of its key models. Ito, along with other top officials, even took a 20% pay cut for three months to signal his contribution to the company’s efforts to fix the issues that have dented its reliability reputation.
Ed Kim, an industry analyst for researcher AutoPacific Inc. in Tustin, California says “Honda is clearly taking its problems seriously, and it has to,” and the automaker – together with Nissan and Toyota – moved to expand the global airbag recalls after a new incident in Japan.