Honda has made some pretty damn boring cars over the past few years. That trend isn't likely to continue in the future, at least not if CEO Takahiro Hachigo has his way. Norihiko Shirouzu of Reuters is reporting that Hachigo is going to reduce the influence those from sales and marketing have on car design. Shirouzu was given this information by two Honda execs who spoke off the record. This should be good news for everyone who lamented the stagnation of Honda's cars, especially the ninth-generation Civic which was the definition of uninspired.
So just how gummed up were the works? Here's one of the anonymous execs talking about how bad things got. "Over the years, our product development process became overly complex and slow, involving a huge number of engineers and sales and marketing people. We began producing watered down, uninspiring, what you might call designed-by-committee, cars." Sheesh, that is some unflinching honesty right there. The second executive that Shirouzu spoke to discussed the increasing influence of the sales team with regard to product planning. "Sales people involved in product planning are more focused on customers' immediate needs."
We need to stay focused on that, but it's not much help in figuring out what kind of car we should be putting out 5-10 years down the road. Tech people should design cars more freely, but take responsibility if the car isn't successful," he said. At the end of the day the conclusion drawn by the two anonymous insiders is that Hachigo will have sales people focusing more on a car's cost and less on how it's designed and engineered. To us this plan seems to already be in motion, what with the 10th-generation Civic stealing hearts and winning awards and the new Ridgeline finally looking like a pickup. We're excited to see where else Honda goes on this new path. Maybe we'll get a modern S2000? Okay, that may be asking too much but we can dream.