Hmm, we might have heard a version of this before, but Honda’s new CEO, Takahiro Hachigo, not yet a month in the chair, wants the company to focus on developing “products that carry dreams”.
In other words: inspiring, more exciting cars. (Which is not something, in latter years, Honda can be widely accused of.)
Speaking at his first news conference, Hachigo also said Honda will be open to “alliances and joint ventures” with rival carmakers to share the cost of developing next-gen technologies.
“I plan to create a new Honda,” he said.
He also scotched his predecessor Takanobu Ito’s ambitious target of selling six million vehicles globally by 2017.
“Rather than focusing on numbers, it is important to come up with products that carry dreams and satisfy our customers,” he said. “We will focus on the development of innovative products.”
While Honda is on the comeback trail, it has not fared well with the Takata airbags issue - a crisis, really, for the company - and booked a 19 percent drop in operating profit for the 2014/2015 financial year.
Unfortunately, Hachigo has the issue of continued overcapacity to deal with, a legacy of Ito’s expansion of Honda’s global production footprint, while global sales remain in the doldrums.
It now builds 81 percent of its cars outside of Japan. Making “more efficient use” of its overseas plants will be “key to Honda’s recovery”, he said.
So too, Honda-watchers would agree, is the commitment to develop more exciting products.
(Listen carefully, and you’ll hear a chorus of “halleluiah brother” from Honda fans everywhere.)