Honda Fit fires, collisions prompt at least sixth major recall

[TOKYO] Honda Motor Co will conduct at least the sixth round of major recalls involving its top-selling Fit compact in less than three years, as the Japanese automaker struggles to move past the quality woes that contributed to a change in chief executive officers.

The company will recall more than 283,000 Fit cars and Vezel crossovers after reports of six fires related to a control systems flaw and two collisions linked to a power steering defect, said Yuichi Yamamoto, a Japan transport ministry official.

None of the incidents resulted in death or injury, he said.

Persistent recalls of the Fit and Vezel that first began in October 2013 were among quality woes that led former President Takanobu Ito to abandon a global sales target before resigning the position.

His successor Takahiro Hachigo has reshuffled top management and consolidated responsibility for product planning and evaluation, ceding more control back to the company's overwhelmed research-and-development division.

Honda tried to introduce models optimized for disparate regions at a pace and scale that was beyond its means, Mr Hachigo, 56, said in February.

The company announced sweeping management changes, including the resignations of Chairman Fumihiko Ike and the CEO's second-in-command Tetsuo Iwamura.

Previous Fit and Vezel recalls in Japan include: October 2013: Honda recalls 4,883 Fit cars over automatic transmission and control modules; December 2013: Extends production period of previous recall, boosting number of cars affected to 36,100 units; February 2014: Recalls 81,353 Fit, Vezel vehicles over engine control units; July 2014: Extends production period of Fit and Vezel recall, raising number of vehicles affected to 175,356; October 2014: Recalls 321,501 Fit and Vezel vehicles over engine ignition coils, power supply circuits.

Honda's quality problems with new product introductions have continued into this year. The automaker recalled the 2016 Civic in February after 2-litre engines seized up in quality- control checks and in the field, resulting in a fire and one reported injury.


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