Honda Motor has, starting July 1, a new president – Takahiro Hachigo – and the new chief has vowed to improve communication as he considered chasing increased sales is not the main priority anymore.
The drive towards higher deliveries has been seen as one of the contributing factors to the company’s recent rundown of quality issues – far from the traditional reliability of Japanese cars. Takahiro Hachigo, speaking to media representatives in Tokyo on Monday, said his most important pledge is to “bring out the best” in the company’s crop of engineers so that they would concentrate on creating products that reflect and are unique to Honda’s philosophy. He also said he would deliver increased communication with “real people in the field.” His predecessor, Takanobu Ito, saw the third largest Japanese automaker hit by five consecutive recalls for the best-selling Fit/Jazz compact and three for the Vezel SUV. The problems were met with pay cuts for top executives, including Ito. Also, just before Hachigo was announced as the successor, Ito decided to drop the company’s goal of delivering 6 million vehicles annually by 2017.
“Six million is the business scale that should be appropriate for Honda, not a sales target,” Hachigo commented. “Rather than focusing on numbers, we will focus on developing products that carry Honda’s dreams.” The president added they would not lend any support to Takata Corp., their biggest supplier of airbag systems, with the company at the center of an expanding global safety crisis, adding the automaker pledges to treat all suppliers equal, even if they are of the same nationality.