The hybrid versions of the hatchback and its crossover variant, sold in Japan as the Vezel, were plagued with drivetrain problems, blamed on rushing a complicated, new system to market.
Honda's breather from the breakneck development pace echoes that taken by rival Toyota Motor Corp. after its 2010 unintended acceleration crisis. Toyota slowed product development as a response, in a back-to-basics move to better root out glitches.
At Honda, global r&d chief Yoshiharu Yamamoto thinks similarly.
He wants to trim the number of vehicle variants in Honda's global lineup by 20 percent to free more time for each product.
He offered no timeline or further details.
But he criticized Honda's workaholic mindset, suggesting that the r&d team needs to develop a culture of leaving the office by 7 p.m. at the latest. The pressure-driven grind, he says, leaves little time for creative thinking and cultivates tunnel vision.
"If you think something's wrong but follow the flow by saying it's OK because the logic and routine are OK, that's when errors pop up," Yamamoto said. "It's important to think clearly."
Ito shook things up in October with the unprecedented step of appointing a quality czar to clamp down on problems.
Honda's top executives also took pay cuts for three months to take responsibility for the recall-plagued Fit.
Honda's reputation for bulletproof quality was further dented by recalls of millions of older vehicles to fix faulty Takata airbags. But it was the embarrassing Fit glitches, linked to internal lapses, that spurred the soul searching.