Honda President, Chief Officer Out Following Record Fine And Reporting Issues

Following a number of issues including a record $70 million fine from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for reporting inaccuracies and the recall of millions of vehicles, Honda announced a shakeup of its top office.

The New York Times reports that Honda will replace its president and chief officer in a sign that the automaker is ready to put its recent safety problems in the rearview mirror.

Honda has faced a number of issues and complications under Takanobu Ito, who became president of the company in 2009.

Since 2009, the automaker has been involved in the massive recall of millions of vehicles equipped with potentially defective Takata airbags that can spew pieces of shrapnel at passengers and drivers.

Following those recalls, the company faced scrutiny from federal regulators regarding its injury and fatality reporting. NHTSA determined in January that the company failed to report over 1,700 injuries and deaths over a period of 11 years and fined the company $70 million.

The company also issued several recalls of the Honda Fit subcompact after the redesigned model was introduced in 2013.

The Times reports that under Ito, Honda rapidly expanded the company’s production capacity while purchasing parts from smaller, more unknown companies.

Ito defended the move saying it would keep the car competitive and open it to more stability.

Auto analysts say that while Ito says he made the decision to step down himself, the move is an indication of diminished confidence in the executive.

“There’s a strong element in this personnel move of taking responsibility for Honda’s recent problems, including the recalls,” Takaki Nakanishi, an auto analyst and head of the Nakanishi Research Institute, tells the Times “It indicates a change of direction, and that’s positive.”

Ito will be replaced by Takahiro Hachigo, who most recently oversaw Honda’s European and Chinese operations. The change is expected to take effect in June.

Ito will remain a senior advisor on the Honda board, the Times reports.

Honda, Grappling With Quality Problems, to Replace Its President [The New York Times]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.