According to people that have knowledge of the encounters, two ex-bosses of Honda Motor paid separate visits to chief executive Takanobu Ito, aiming to encourage him to focus on the rising quality problems.
The reported visits from two of Honda’s former grandees add to the already building pressure on the manager, as US regulators, politicians and the public opinion grow weary of the Takata airbag recall crisis. Thre sources from within the company talked to Reuters and said Nobuhiko Kawamoto and Hiroyuki Yoshino separately came to discuss the issues with the CEO at the Japanese carmaker’s Tokyo headquarters.
According to the report, the message sent was crystal clear: Ito, 61, needs to act swiftly to address the quality issues – before the problems start damaging Honda’s image. Honda, the largest client for the airbag’s producer Takata, has so far recalled almost 10 million autos since 2008 because airbag inflators are potentially flawed – they could explode with too much force and send shrapnel and metal or plastic debris flying inside the cabin at high velocity. They also referred to the five consecutive recalls that hit the electric-gasoline hybrid variants of the Fit subcompact car and Vezel crossover utility vehicle – with the models just launched in 2013.
In related news, besides upgrading the count of the recalled cars linked to the Takata issue, the automaker also reported the fifth death in the US.