As Toyota readies its latest attempt to send a shock through the full-size pickup market with its new, fully-redesigned Tundra, Honda is quite content to stand on the sidelines and watch as the battle royale ensues.
John Mendel, American Honda's senior VP of automotive operations, says that creating a big body-on-frame pickup runs counter to the company's philosophy, which is to ultimately produce fuel-efficient vehicles. He correctly points out that Toyota has been at this for a while now with the Tundra, and stated, "We're fine with Ridgeline," Honda's unique-looking unibody pickup.
While we're sure that there are plenty of readers who'd love to see Honda's take on the full-size pickup, the company's reluctance to dip a toe into that pool is completely understandable. The level of competition in the segment is relentless, and Ford, GM, and Chrysler still have a distinct advantage over newcomers. Just look at the sales numbers, where Tundra and Nissan's Titan are routinely trounced by the Americans. (To illustrate the Titan's place in the market, consider that Chevy sold more Uplanders – the aged, unappealing minivan – last month than Nissan did Titans.)
Toyota has taken its lumps, learned its lessons, and is in it for the long haul, with its new San Antonio, Texas plant geared up to build the all-new Tundra. Still, it's going to be an uphill battle for them, as the Tundra is met by a welcoming committee of completely redesigned GM trucks.
Honda's doing the right thing. They have an appealing niche pickup in the Ridgeline, and for them, that's enough. They're probably more than happy to keep building their bread-and-butter vehicles while watching from afar as their competitors beat each other's brains out with their big pickups.
[Source: Ward's Auto World]