Honda CEO “Not Satisfied” With Automaker’s Recent Performance

Honda CEO “Not Satisfied” With Automaker’s Recent Performance

Honda CEO Takanobu Ito criticized the “complacent” nature of his company at the Beijing Auto Show, taking aim at poor sales figures, a lack of product direction and a need to focus on improving the company’s hybrid systems.

Honda’s market share slid by 0.4 percent, with Ito citing the disappointing sales of the Insight hybrid as a particular sore spot. In Insight has been pitched as an alternative to the Prius, but poor reviews, lower fuel economy numbers and the lack of cachet surrounding the vehicle has seen the Insight get trounced in the sales race, with Toyota selling 5 times as many Prius hybrids.

The most surprising part of this candid interview was Ito’s admission that “It’s possible we grew complacent about the good performance of the Accord, Civic and CR-V.”  The Accord recently lost a major Car and Driver comparison test to the Hyundai Sonata, while the CR-V faces stiff competition from a growing segment, including Hyundai’s new Tucson. Ito also cited Hyundai as a major threat, and said that Honda must change its course to compete with the Korean giant. “The biggest problem is we’re not selling the value of our products. We have to improve the performance of our products as well.”

Ito also announced plans for a new hybrid system for large cars, involving two large electric motors, one which charges the battery, the other which gives the gasoline engine a power boost. The system will be used on an upcoming Acura hybrid, as well as minivans and mid-size cars.

Honda has traditionally resisted a number of technologies employed by its competitors, including turbochargers, rear-wheel drive and V8 engines, and stuck to their formula of light-weight, efficient and practical vehicles. But Ito’s comments could indicate that the “Honda way” is beginning to falter, and some new direction is needed at the venerable Japanese firm.

[Source: Automotive News]

  • Rajame

    Honda lost it’s way by not listening to blogs…Drop a diesel in it!!!!! Sooooo, many Hoda fans have been waiting for the European Tourer – Accord, diesel, wagon – outstanding power and economy. How about a good CR-V diesel? Everywere but the US. Foreign press has been raving about it for year. BUT NO, US not ready for diesels. BS. And if Honda can’t figure out the polution control stuff, just get out of the business. You can and probably already have. Have been a loyal Honda driver since 1992. Hello VW!!!!

  • abc

    I believe the comment about the CR-V not having been redesigned in 8 years is inaccurate. The latest body style was released in 2007.

  • disappointed hondafan

    This is a good sign as at least Mr. Ito realizes what we have been noticing for a while–that Honda seems to be lagging behind its competitors (ie. offering only 5 speed automatics when competitors have 6, 7 , 8 speed auto transmissions, a dated non-competive hybrid system etc.) I just hope that Honda makes sure that while fuel economy is important–don’t make the vehicle underpowered and slow.

  • Ralph Sandifer

    Recently I sent this letter to Honda Customer Service and the answer I received did not please me. The answer was that Honda would refund approximately $150.00 but I informed the customer service representative that I wanted my system to function like factory as that is what the dealer told me or Honda could remove the backup sensor and repair all damages plus refund the entire purchase price. Aaron, the customer service representative told me that I would have to take what he offered or forget it as his decision was final and if I went to anyone else they would refer me back to him. The letter I sent is “I purchased a 2011 Honda Pilot EX on 08/03/2010 and had the back-up sensors installed for a cost of $706.00. I took the Pilot back to the dealer because I could not hear the back-up sensors if there was any noise in the vehicle at all. The dealer checked and there was no way to increase the volume of the sensors plus the speaker is mounted in the rear of the vehicle. The dealer did everything that he could do so now I am writing you. I also completed a survey the week of 08/23/2010 and stated that I was very dissatisfied with the back-up sensors but no one has responded so it seems like no one cares that I have an issue with my new Honda. My wife and I have purchased 4 new Honda’s and have been pleased with the quality until now. Also there is no way for the driver to tell which side the danger is on. The entire sensor system, front and back with indicator lights, should have been installed for the price I paid for just the rear.” The next new car I purchase will not be a Honda if this is not resolved to my liking. Thanks for listening. Ralph Sandifer