The Honda Ridgeline has been a polarizing vehicle since its introduction in early 2005 as a 2006 model. Today, Honda announced that it will be putting Ridgeline production on hold in 2014, but it will resume in 2016 once a redesigned version is unveiled. Some have chastised it, saying the Ridgeline can’t hold a candle to the Big Three’s offerings, while others have rolled with it. Either way, this is a good thing for Honda’s full-size pickup.
Honda hasn’t come out and said when, exactly, it will pull the plug on Ridgeline production, but according to WardsAuto, that’ll happen in September of next year. Production of the redesigned Ridgeline is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2016. This deviates from the original production forecast that the Ridgeline would live right on through 2016. This also confirms that Honda will continue to participate in the full-size light-duty pickup truck segment for the foreseeable future. The Ridgeline is assembled at Honda’s manufacturing facility in Lincoln, Alabama, alongside the Pilot and Acura MDX. Confirmation of the Ridgeline living on past 2016 assures that jobs will also be saved as well.
Some may question why Honda will continue to trot the Ridgeline out in one of the most competitive vehicle segments in the United States. The title for light-duty pickup truck supremacy is hotly contested, to say the least, as Ford, Chevrolet and Ram have learned firsthand. On top of that, the Blue Oval boys have owned the title for best-selling truck for over three decades. It doesn’t help that the Ridgeline has seen its sales dip continuously since it sold 50,193 units in 2006. However, Honda saw its pickup truck sales spike last year to 14,068 units, a 44.2 percent increase over 2011, and the new Sport trim that bowed last year is most likely to be behind that growth.
Back in 2005 when Honda first rolled the Ridgeline out, it branded it as an SUT, or sport utility truck due in part to the in-bed storage. With the SUT distinction, other automakers didn’t pay much attention and brushed the Ridgeline off. Now, features like the storage box have found its way onto competing models like Chrysler Group and its Ram Box.
What say you? Is Honda making the right decision by bringing the Ridgeline back in 2016? Sound off in the comments.