I remember seeing a video from about 10 years ago where an engineer said that the reason he went to go work at Honda was that the company let him build the best product possible.
Based on my experience with the Civic, Honda engineering was being second-guessed by the accountants. Which is exactly what went wrong at GM and Chrysler. They destroyed the company's reputation for short-term profits, a tenth of a cent at a time.
I agree about the airbag scandal. Ito gets a pass on that. Should Honda have done independent testing of a supplier's parts? They probably did at first during acceptance testing, but given how rare the issue is, it just never occurred where they could see it.