after 5th Honda Fit recall, company appoints first quality czar


after 5th Honda Fit / Jazz recall, company appoints first quality czar

Honda, after announcing a fifth recall of the redesigned Fit in just 12 months, has taken the unprecedented step of appointing a quality czar to clamp down on problems. The company’s top executives will also receive 20% pay cuts for three months to take responsibility for the recall-plagued car. The Fit was recalled Oct. 23 for a fifth time since its 2013 debut.

Honda said Oct. 23 it would recall 426,076 Fits and other vehicles worldwide to fix two components, the ignition coil and power control unit, which can malfunction due to electrical interference. In a worse case, the glitches can cause the engine to shut down. Honda said it has no reports of injuries.

The recall affects gasoline and hybrid Fits, as well as hybrid versions of the Fit-based HR-V, which is sold as the Vezel in Japan. It also covers the N-WGN minicar sold in Japan.

Only 251 vehicles are being recalled overseas — in New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and select Latin American markets.

All of the vehicles were made in Japan.

While the recall covers both gasoline and hybrid Fits, it does not cover Fits sold in the U.S. for two reasons. The hybrid versions are not sold in the U.S., and the gasoline version sold there has a 1.5-liter engine, not the 1.3-liter powerplant that is being called back.

The action marks an embarrassing fifth fix for the third-generation Fit, which was introduced last year and pioneered a new multi-region product development strategy meant to cut costs and boost r&d efficiencies.

The earlier recalls — all to fix problems only with the hybrid version’s drivetrain — prompted Honda to overhaul r&d processes for all cars worldwide to better intercept problems.

The latest recall does not cover Fits sold in the U.S.

The company also said it is reviewing quality processes worldwide, in a move that may delay product launches, including the introduction of the HR-V compact crossover to be built at Honda’s new plant in Mexico.

Honda President Takanobu Ito, who will take a 20 percent pay cut during the three-month period, appointed Koichi Fukuo as the company’s newly christened executive in charge of quality reform.

The changes come as Honda grapples with spiraling problems that have bruised its once sterling reputation for quality.

Read More about the latest Honda recall here.