Honda CEO Stepping Down, R&D Head Stepping Up

honda ceo stepping down r d head stepping up

Honda has announced that CEO Takahiro Hachigo will be succeeded by the automaker’s head of research and development, Toshihiro Mibe. The company’s board held a meeting on Friday to finalize the decision, noting in a release that Mibe would officially be taking over leadership responsibilities on April 1st. A resolution of the general shareholder meeting is scheduled for June 2021, at which point Hachigo is assumed to be retiring from the business.

Mibe joined Honda’s engineering team in 1987 and had worked his way up to head of R&D in 2019. Since 2020, he’s also been working as the brand’s senior managing director. He’s to be tasked with taking the manufacturer into “the next era” — which we’re guessing entails strengthening its commitment to electric vehicles. Though the manufacturer also stated that “a new value system is spreading all around the world” adding that this change in management would help reflect that as it strives to solve social issues.

It sounds like a lot to contend with, frankly, so it might be in the Japanese’ business’ best interest to stay focused on things that be bolted together. Honda has prioritized practical automobiles with efficient gasoline motors for its entire existence. But it has started to dabble in electrification with the introduction of the Honda E that took place in August. The company now wants EVs to comprise the majority of its sales volume by 2030 and seems to be hinting that a change in leadership would be an essential component in achieving said goal.

From Honda:

During the approximately six years since he ascended to the presidency in 2015, in the face of a period of great transformation of the company’s business environment, Hachigo took the initiative and formulated Honda’s 2030 Vision to enable Honda to become “a company society wants to exist” into the future. For the fulfilment of the company’s 2030 Vision statement — “to serve people worldwide with the joy of expanding their life’s potential” — Hachigo led Team Honda on a course to “solidify existing businesses” and “prepare for future growth.” Under Hachigo’s leadership, Honda has increased efficiency and strengthened its operating structure in the areas of production and product development. Moreover, by pursuing the “selection and concentration” of its corporate resources on a global basis, a solid foundation for the future was established, preparing Honda to take off in the new era.

While Honda has a tendency to try and go it alone (at least when compared to other manufacturers) Mibe has repeatedly expressed an interest in partnering with outside entities. He has also stated on numerous occasions that the company needs to transform itself and modernize — specifically in respect to alternative powertrains. Hachigo has stated this is the exact reason for the change in leadership, suggesting that his job was to set up Mibe for future success so the automaker can undergo major changes.

[Image: Anastasiia Moiseieva/Shutterstock]

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  • Slavuta Slavuta on Feb 19, 2021

    They should all resign at Honda for producing this total crap

  • Conundrum Conundrum on Feb 19, 2021

    Honda made their first hybrid Insight for the year 2000. Sure was weird to drive - I kept waiting for the electric boost to happen which it never did, or maybe I didn't notice, being so immersed in slipping the clutch to try and actually get it moving. The gearing was interstellar and the power was asteroidal. So they've been dabbling with electrickery for some time; well, that and double wishbone limited travel suspensions. An EV isn't much of a stretch for them in my view. Never could quite get the final urge to buy a Honda because of those so-so, for me, suspenders. Still, many of my friends and acquaintances for 40 years did buy the brand and were perfectly happy. Not one of them suffered any tragedies, despite the recent historical revisionism from the internet basement experts that they were actually rolling piles of rubbish, unbeknownst to their actual owners. VW had a lock on rolling piles for decades after the British, French and Italian cars were sent home in ignominy. Now my Honda mower, there was a piece of junk. A wheel fell off, actually the assembly supposedly welded onto the deck. Mine wasn't. Welded that is, so you gotta give the paint credit that it held the thing together till season two and no warranty. Still, I wish Honda luck. They're going to need it. When all cars turn into high energy mobile two-box golf carts on stilts, with a windshield, a roof and A/C, brand differentiation is going to be a real problem.

    • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Feb 19, 2021

      Nope, China will be a problem. They will take over market because all supplies chains go to China. China can punish by not selling chips e.g. Or batteries, or motors, or steel.

  • MaintenanceCosts The sweet spot of this generation isn't made anymore: the SRT 392. The Scat Pack is more or less filling the same space but it lacks a lot of the goodies, including SRT suspension, brakes, and seats. The Hellcat is too much and isn't available with a manual anymore.
  • Arthur Dailey I am normally a fan of Exner's designs but by this time the front end on the Stutz like most of the rest of the vehicle is a laughable monstrosity of gauche. The interior finishes suit the rest of the vehicle. Corey please put this series out of its misery. This is one vehicle manufacturer best left on the scrap heap of history.
  • Art Vandelay I always thought what my Challenger really needed was a convertible top to make it heavier and make visability worse.
  • Dlc65688410 Please stop, we can't take anymore of this. Think about doing something on the Spanish Pegaso.
  • MaintenanceCosts A few bits of context largely missing from this article:(1) For complicated historical reasons, the feds already end up paying much of the cost of buying new transit buses of all types. It is easier legally and politically to put capital funds than operating funds into the federal budget, so the model that has developed in most US agencies is that operational costs are raised from a combination of local taxes and fares while the feds pick up much of the agencies' capital needs. So this is not really new spending but a new direction for spending that's been going on for a long time.(2) Current electric buses are range-challenged. Depending on type of service they can realistically do 100-150 miles on a charge. That's just fine for commuter service where the buses typically do one or two trips in the morning, park through the midday, and do one or two trips in the evening. It doesn't work well for all-day service. Instead of having one bus that can stay out from early in the morning until late at night (with a driver change or two) you need to bring the bus back to the garage once or twice during the day. That means you need quite a few more buses and also increases operating costs. Many agencies are saying for political reasons that they are going to go electric in this replacement cycle but the more realistic outcome is that half the buses can go electric while the other half need one more replacement cycle for battery density to improve. Once the buses can go 300 miles in all weather they will be fine for the vast majority of service.(3) With all that said, the transition to electric will be very good. Moving from straight diesel to hybrid already cut down substantially on emissions, but even reduced diesel emissions cause real public health damage in city settings. Transitioning both these buses and much of the urban truck fleet to electric will have measurable and meaningful impacts on public health.