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Honda Exec Hints New Truck Model And More

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On: Mon, Mar 12, 2012 at 11:51AM | By: Chris Salamone

Honda Exec Hints New Truck Model And More

Back in October of 2011, Honda told us the Ridgeline was here to stay via a public service announcement. Of course, media junkies and auto enthusiasts acknowledged Honda’s stalwart optimism for the company’s most controversial product, amongst a recent model lineup of underperforming niche vehicles, but kept an existentially ubiquitous eyebrow raised in suspicion. Something would have to be done about the Ridgeline, and soon.

After a whirlwind year in 2011, featuring one natural disaster after another, Honda has some serious work to do for 2012. But, fortunately for us, the company refuses to back down – suggesting Honda is now stronger than ever.

Along with such a bold claim, Honda is quick to bolster their confidence with references to strong financial investments on US soil and unsurprisingly, a brief nod to an additional light truck model.

Tetsuo Iwamura, President & CEO of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., stated on March 9: “In Ohio, we are in the midst of an investment of more than $500 Million in production facilities that are building both our advanced Earth Dreams powertrain technologies and vehicles for our customers here and to be exported abroad. In Alabama, we are investing more than $270 million to increase production and add a fourth light truck model.”

In theory, the Ridgeline was supposed to be Honda’s original fourth light truck model sold in America, following the Acura MDX, Honda Pilot and much-missed Honda Element. To be fair, we have no idea what President Iwamura is actually talking about, but a reference to increasing production and ADDING a light truck model sounds pretty conclusive to us. Whether that model will be a variation of the Ridgeline or something completely new is unknown.

But because we can’t help ourselves on the AS blog, here’s a guess: the Ridgeline will evolve into something more generally palatable. There’s no question that a light truck market exists in the US and newly booming markets like Thailand or Brazil. So, the Ridgeline has good reason to stick around. Throw in a renovated model with competitive pricing, better fuel economy, and/or a utilitarian design and perhaps the Ridgeline could have some sales success.

In light of the tragedies that befell Japan last year, Honda appears to have persevered remarkably well. We can hardly wait to get our trembling hands on the upcoming Acura NSX. A new light truck might garner the same enthusiasm. And with Chevy and Ford on the light truck fritz, Honda has an opportunity to be the segment leader in a class which formerly out sold the Ridgeline.


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