As safety crisis rages on, Honda chooses from inside its new President and CEO image
Honda Motor, the third largest Japanese automaker is going to have an insider that only worked for the company for his entire career in a bid to safely escape a growing worldwide auto safety crisis, which has seen seven people die in cars made by the company.
Takahiro Hachigo will take over this week as the eighth president of one of Japan’s most renowned companies from Takanobu Ito, whose term has been impacted by recalls of the rupturing Takata Corp. airbags – in 41-year old tradition of Honda presidents carefully selecting their successor from inside the company. Hachigo, 56, will define his rule through the decisions as he tackles the troubled relationship with its supplier – proponents claiming he’s an able listener that usually seeks consensus – in a departure from his more autocratic predecessor. “Japanese electronics makers failed partly due to internally promoted top managers; I hope Honda won’t fall into the same rut,” commented on the other hand Kentaro Hayashi, a Tachibana Securities Co. analyst in Tokyo.
The company has so far avoided radical actions such as deserting Takata for another airbag provider, going the route of incremental steps, such as improving quality checkups on new models. The flawed Takata airbags can deploy with excessive force, exploding and sending metal debris flying inside the cabin at high velocity. The defective part has made Honda recall around 20 million vehicles, the most among a host of eleven affected carmakers. And the fatalities attributed to the flaw have recently soared to seven cases, all in Honda vehicles, as the safety supplier is still ramping up production of the replacement parts and the majority of recalled models are still on the roads.