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Honda 'downhill' controversy

Honda's former president Nabuhiko Kawamoto has caused US media controversy by labelling his former company 'inferior' and 'headed downhill'.

President from 1990-98, Kawamoto said he felt "a sense of crisis" for Honda because its growth has always been precarious as it tries to keep up with Toyota. And he is also concerned about a reshuffling of the company's top management. Taking over is 58-year-old Takeo Fukui, the former head of Honda's North American manufacturing operations.

Kawamoto has questioned Fukui's ability to maintain strong morale among his workers.

In spite of the controversy, Honda had posted its best-ever profits for the year ended March 31 of $3.6 billion – 18 per cent up on last year.

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