Honda's First Small Car: An Arduous Road
"This won't work! Change the design right away!"
Soichiro Honda, then the president of Honda, was a veritable fountain of ideas, issuing his instructions for one design change after another.
Hideo Takeda, who was in charge of frame design for what was to be Honda's first full-featured small passenger vehicle, attempted his reply. "I hear what you say, Mr. Honda. But they are about to start mass production at Suzuka, so to make additional design changes would only bring chaos to the line."
Soichiro Honda, welcomed by cheering employees, celebrates the first H1300 car off the production line at Suzuka.
Soichiro's face turned beet-red. "Damnit!" he shouted. "Chaos on the line is nothing compared to what our customers would have to suffer. Can't you understand that? Now, go to Suzuka and take care of it, right now!" He was resolute that the design changes be made.
Takeda was hesitant about going to the Suzuka Factory, knowing what he would be facing. He could almost hear the staff at the Engineering Department complaining: "What exactly are you trying to design at the R&D Center? If you keep changing the design like this, we won't be able to run the production line anymore!" Due to a previous series of requests for changes in design, there had already been numerous clashes along the way. Still, the time was approaching to issue a press release, as was scheduled.