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Honda to Curb Role of Sales Team in Product Planning Decisions

Previous strategy led to "watered down, uninspiring" cars.

Kelly Pleskot
Feb 25, 2016

Honda's new CEO has big changes in store for the company and its product development process. Takahiro Hachigo plans to reduce the influence of sales and marketing teams on car design, reports Reuters.

The decision would reverse actions put in place by Honda's previous CEO, Takanobu Ito. It's all part of the automaker's goal to make more exciting cars.

"Over the years, our product development process became overly complex and slow, involving a huge number of engineers and sales and marketing people," an unnamed Honda executive told Reuters. "As a result, we began producing watered down, uninspiring, what you might call designed-by-committee, cars."

Another executive told Reuters that tech experts should be able to "design cars more freely." While the sales team may be more focused on customer's immediate needs, it's the job of the designer to look one step ahead in the future of vehicle styling.

As part of the plan, Honda will likely limit the role of sales executives at key product planning meetings. And despite previous efforts by the company to give more independence to local markets, that soon may change. Honda may start limiting the freedom of local R&D centers in North America, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and other regional markets and instead may return development work on key technologies to Japan.

This isn't the first time Honda has questioned its own design process. Back in 2011, a design executive admitted Honda's cars "have been a bit boring" lately, vowing changes are coming in the next few years. Since then, we've seen some exciting new cars like the Honda Civic and upcoming Civic Type R.

Source: Reuters

By Kelly Pleskot
293 Articles

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