In his first news conference as Honda's CEO, Takahiro Hachigo made it known that he wants to guarantee his engineers have enough time to fully develop strong products based on advanced technology.
Tasked with restoring the companies reputation for quality and technology, Hachigo-san has been with Honda since 1982, holding several key executive and R&D positions, even spearheading development of the original Odyssey.
Honda had been labouring under their grandiose volume targets, in the effort to reach six-million annual vehicle sales by 2017 quality lapses began to show as engineers found themselves overworked to meet increasingly accelerated deadlines.
"I want to prioritize the development of Honda-like products rather than expanding sales volume,” said Hachigo-san at Honda’s headquarters in Tokyo on Monday. “The team that’s involved in on-the-ground development needs to spend time to develop better products, and I want to support them by making sure that time is secured.”
Product became unrepresentative of Honda proper, it culminated with the Takata debacle but the signs were visible early. The emergency redesign of the 9th gen Civic sent alarm bells ringing and questions abound, had Honda lost their way?
Moving past that Hachigo-san also waxed poetic on the importance of teamwork and communication at a multinational corporation. He has vowed to nurture an environment that encourages and adopts ideas from people actually involved in projects at the ground level.
Critically Honda will return to content focused development, the volume will follow. The strategy will take time before the fruit is tasted but critically the man in charge brings passion above all. "I love Honda, and I grew up in Honda," Hachigo-san said with purpose. "I want to give back to Honda."