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Honda Appoints New Quality Chief Amid Mounting Recalls

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 10/23/2014 Erick Ayapana

With recall and safety concerns dominating headlines, a number of automakers have gone as far as creating new executive positions dedicated to quality. Honda did just that by appointing a new quality czar, which comes at a time when the automaker is dealing with mounting recalls in recent months.

The new Honda Fit appears to be the automaker’s main concern. According to Automotive News, Honda recently issued a fifth recall for the Fit, which first went on sale in Japan last year. This recall, which doesn’t include Fits in the U.S., affects those with the hybrid and 1.3-liter I-4 powertrains (U.S.-spec is powered by a 1.5-liter mill). An issue with the ignition coil and power control in about 426,000 cars could cause the engine to shut down.

Honda President Takanobu Ito has named Koichi Fukuo as the automaker’s new executive to take charge of quality. Fukuo, who will keep his role as chief of large-vehicle development, has also been named as vice president of Honda R&D, with all changes taking effect November 1. General Motors added a similar position earlier this year following its ignition switch recall.

2015 Honda Fit© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Honda Fit

Interestingly, a number of Honda executives, including Ito, are taking responsibility for the quality lapses by agreeing to a 20-percent pay cut for three months.

Fits affected by the aforementioned recall were made in Japan and previous recalls were all centered on the hybrid powertrain. The U.S.-spec Fit is produced in Honda’s new plant in Celaya, Mexico, which will also produce the Fit-based HR-V crossover. Automotive News reports that Honda may delay the introduction of the HR-V due to quality concerns. Honda previously pushed back the release date of the U.S.-spec Fit for the same reason.

In addition to appointing its new quality chief, Honda will also make changes to its research and development processes. A prototype car, for example, will enter the research phase earlier than before and Honda will spend more money and time on developing vehicles.

Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)

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