• Aug 14, 2006
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]


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  • 34 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Re.GM WHO

      You must be the biggest idiot on this blog! ESl my ass..

      Tu parles Français? Es-tu capable de comprendre ce message? Va le faire traduire espèce d'ignorant.
      S.V.P Répond moi en Français si tu es capable mon chérie d'amour.......
      • 8 Years Ago
      "agree with others on here, this 'car-truck'as never meant to compete with any big trucks, so whats the big deal? it was meant for people who want to haul a couple of boxes or stuff from home depot."


      You want better economy less utility, better price,buy a Tacoma or even the archaic Ranger. Both of those do everything better than Honda's pathetic open-bed minivan.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Probably a smart move. Bringing a full-size, body-on-frame pickup to market would require a ground-up design and loads of R&D on Honda's part... just in time for people to reconsider using these things as daily transportation. In the face of $3/gal gasoline, I think we're going to see the full-size pickup market shifting back towards the people that actually need/use them.

      Besides, no matter how effective a Honda truck might be, a large portion of pickup buyers will simply label it "wimpy" and walk away.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "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."

      If Honda's goal is to produce fuel efficient vehicles, then why does it build the Ridgeline? The V-6-powered Ridgeline gets the same mileage as a V-8 powered Tahoe (20 mpg highway) and worse mileage than GM's full-sized trucks.

      It gets a whole 1 mpg highway better than a Hummer H-3.

      I bet there are people out there who buy it assuming it gets better mileage, just because it has an "H" on the front.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I agree with posters who argue that the Ridgeline represented a good move on the part of Honda. Not everyone does need a traditional, body-on-frame truck.

      I'd also agree with critics of the Ridgeline who point out that its gas mileage is not a meaningful improvement over Big Three offerings. Perhaps one reason why is that Honda didn't go far enough in distinguishing the Ridgeline's look from traditional trucks.

      Imagine, if you will, a Ridgeline that had an aerodynamic design instead of the brick-on-wheels look. Cut a few pounds here and there and the Ridgeline could very well have turned out to be a hot seller once gas prices went up.

      (Happy side effect: Maybe then the Ridgeline wouldn't have become the ugliest vehicle Honda has ever sold in the U.S. My God, how did that even get past the clinics?)

      Moral to this story: Honda's failure was trying too hard to ape the traditional truck look rather than traveling its own road. I hope management learned its lesson.
      • 8 Years Ago
      the other bob...

      who on here is saying the ridgeline is efficient??

      obviously you're just looking to hate on the car because your beloved gm or ford are sucking it HARD.

      i agree with others on here, this "car-truck" was never meant to compete with any big trucks, so whats the big deal? it was meant for people who want to haul a couple of boxes or stuff from home depot.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'm not complaining about $3.00/gal gasoline... I don't drive a truck :-)

      But it's the perception of soaring gas prices that's driving down sales of these vehicles. Rising gas prices are going to go away. There will be dips and rises, but over time, it's only going to get more expensive.

      As for the Ridgeline, I wouldn't place too much weight on EPA figures. Automakers know the conditions of those specific tests and tune gearing, shift points, etc accordingly. Most "real-world" tests (CR, CG, C&D) put the Ridgeline somewhere around 16-18 MPG, and the Big Three's full-sizers between 12-15 MPG.

      But then, I suppose this article isn't about the Ridgeline to begin with...
      • 8 Years Ago
      funniest line of teh thread by Aki:
      edited for greater emphasis:
      "I've yet to see an F-150 lugging large steel beams or towing a yacht in the rustic streets of...San Francisico...95% of trucks owners in my area buy em to compensate for...masculine insecurities."

      something about combining masculine insecurities and the SF/Bay area is hilarious.
      • 8 Years Ago
      OK, lets break this down for you Honda lovers who keep repeating the lie that the Ridgeline is more efficient...

      Ridgeline: Hauls and tows less, has less horsepower, has less torque, has a v-6, priced HIGHER, uses MORE gas.

      Most other truck builders, esp. GM: Hauls and tows more, has more hoursepower and torque, has a V-8, priced LOWER in comparable models, uses LESS gas.

      The other truck makers also have a multitude of other configurations, including 2wd, multiple bed types, etc.

      For those who think the Honda is the responsible truck, you are foolish and misinformed.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Honda has always been a different kind of car company. They make solid sedans and SUVs. They appeal to the masses and build a damn good product. I can see why they're staying out of the large truck segment. I can also see why the Titan isn't selling. It's quite ugly and pretty cheesy for even a truck. As for the Ridgeline. Most smart people know that the Ridgeline isn't a truck built for real full-size truck owners. It's made for yuppies and urban dwellers. That is why I always laugh at the idiots who bitch about the Ridgeline not being a real truck! Duh! I don't think that it was Honda's goal in the first place.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "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.)"

      yeesh, that's enough to cause a Jonestown-type scenario at Nissan USA HQ....
      • 8 Years Ago
      No shock there. Honda has never been about trucks. Back in the 70's when toyota, nissan, mazda, mitsu, isuzu were all introducing compact pickups honda didn't touch that market.

      As for the ridgeline, it's like a ElCamino; a car-truck.
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