The engineer duo is tasks to say just “yes” or “no” to every car designs that passes through. If the design is as mediocre as the 2012 Honda Civic, Minami and Asahi could say no without repercussions from the higher ups. And only if they started earlier, the cheap redesign of the Honda Civic might have not reach production.
The 2012 Civic has been the center of severe criticisms, leaving its detractors and supporters alike, as well as competitors, to wonder how Honda slumped like this. Many say that the company tumbled into designing cars by committee in recent years while drifting away from the free-thinking ambitions of its founder.
Asahi admits the company’s biggest problem to Reuters, saying that somewhere along the way, Honda lost the ability to express itself more freely. "We have a lot of designers here, and when we ask ourselves, 'Which Honda car would we want to buy?' Sometimes, some of us draw a blank," Asahi revealed to Autonews.
The admission seems to the complete opposite of how Honda surprised US carmakers in the 1970s by introducing inexpensive yet fuel-efficient cars like the Civic.
Whereas during that time Honda was a pioneer in introducing new technologies like the CVCC engine that boasted cleaner tailpipe emissions, the company now sluggishly trails behind other automakers in advances like the six-speed transmissions and direct fuel-injection systems. Insiders remarked that Honda has become a carmaker that settled for bigger profits rather creating innovative cars that were the company’s secret to success.