Honda Rethinks Ambitious 6 Million-Vehicle Sales Target after Recalls

Nov 11, 2014 10:55 AM EST | Jordan Ecarma

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Beleaguered by the recent Takata air bag recalls, Tokyo-based automaker Honda seems to be dialing back on an ambitious sales target to ship 6 million vehicles per year worldwide by March 2017.

"I am pondering about the keyword '6 million vehicles,'" CEO Takanobu Ito said at a recent news conference, as quoted by the Wall Street Journal. "The priority is to make our customers happy through products and services."

His comment marks the first time that the company has wavered from the aggressive sales goal. Honda sold 4.3 million vehicles worldwide in the year ending March 2014.

The Japanese carmaker has been hit by several recalls that have necessitated delaying product launches.

Since it became available in September of last year, the redesigned Honda Fit subcompact has been recalled five times in Japan for a range of issues. The necessary repairs have forced Honda to delay releasing products including the remodeled Legend, which sells as the Honda Acura RLX in the U.S.

Of the 10 automakers involved, Honda has been central in the recalls for cars equipped with faulty Takata air bags that can explode and shower passengers with shrapnel. Safety advocates say that at least four traffic deaths have been connected with the problematic air bags.

Honda has recalled almost 10 million vehicles globally in the last four years for the issue.

"My heart aches over the fact that our customers have been injured or killed in our products with air bags," Ito told reporters at a launch event for the new hybrid Legend model, as quoted by Reuters.

"We are, as are other companies, conducting regional recalls in the southern states of the United States and analyzing the data. What we need to do first is to get those results and take appropriate action."

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