According to Reuters, two former Honda chiefs have recently visited Ito (pictured above with his predecessor Takeo Fukui) to talk to him about the Japanese automaker's quality issues, which they apparently regard as eroding the company's image. Nobuhiko Kawamoto, who served as CEO from 1990-98, reportedly came to Honda headquarters in Tokyo to deliver "stern words" to Ito last month. Kawamoto's immediate successor, Hiroyuki Yoshino, reportedly met with Ito under similar circumstances earlier this year.
Kawamoto and Yoshino are part of a larger group of former Honda executives who are concerned with the declining quality of the company's products under Ito's leadership. Where Honda once focused more on quality, collaborating more closely with parts suppliers,more recently the company has, in the eyes of those former executives at least, shifted its focus to quantity and to new technologies. That's what, the report alleges, has led to Honda recalling so many of its vehicles in recent years.
The former executives aren't calling for Ito's resignation, but are urging him to shift his focus back to quality in order to save the company's image from further eroding.