Rumors about Honda’s axing of the Ridgeline by 2013 are apparently just that—rumors. Recent information suggests that the Ridgeline may carry on through 2013, despite slowing sales. Honda now says previous reports that the Ridgeline would soon cease production were based solely on speculation.
Honda spokesperson Gina Jorge told us that the automaker has not announced a decision to discontinue the Ridgeline. Jorge would not comment on a possible replacement for the niche pickup, or any future Honda truck models. Birmingham News, a publication based in the same state where the Ridgeline is now produced, received official word from Honda that the pickup is safe for the time being.
“The Ridgeline’s not going anywhere,” Honda spokesperson Chuck Schifsky told Birmingham News. “There is no plan currently underway or any plan in the works to kill the Ridgeline. We feel it's important to have a pickup truck in the lineup.”
Evidence of Honda’s belief in the Ridgeline’s value in the lineup could be seen in its shifting of the pickup’s production from Canada to Honda’s plant in Lincoln, Alabama, in 2009. This move, according to Birmingham News, kept 4000 factory workers busy while sales of the Honda Odyssey minivan and Pilot SUV, both built at the Lincoln plant, slowed during the economic downturn.
The Ridgeline also survived trials during the parts supply shortage caused by the earthquake and tsunami that crippled Japan in March. Ridgeline production was put on hold until last month, when assembly of the pickup could resume. This setback likely impacted sales of the already slow-selling pickup. As of the end of August, Honda has sold 5776 Ridgelines in 2011, compared to 11,320 sold in the first eight months of 2010. Even without the production handicap, overall sales have slid significantly each year since the Ridgeline’s introduction – with total Ridgeline sales in 2010 amounting to 16,142 units, compared to 42,593 units sold in the truck’s debut year.
Source: Honda, Birmingham News