End of The Line for the Honda Ridgeline
UPDATE: We got it wrong.
Filed under the heading “NO kidding” (sarcasm), it’s being rumored that the not-really-a-truck-but-sort-of-looks-like-a-truck Honda Ridgeline will be discontinued in 2012. PickupTrucks.com editor Mike Levine spoke with a Honda exec who said that he could neither confirm or deny that the Ridgeline will be flushed in 2012.
Of course, there’s a difference between a rumor and a confirmation, but here’s why this rumor seems legit, and why we’re going to say goodbye to the Ridgeline.
The Ridgeline’s Sales Are TERRIBLE. Here’s a nice little sales chart for you, starting with the Ridgeline’s debut in 2005.
The annual sales goal (according to a very knowledgeable forum moderator at RidgelineOwnersClub.com) is 50k units. While Honda came close to that goal between 05′ and 07′, they’ve completely fallen off since that time. Industry experts tend to agree that a vehicle isn’t sustainable financially if it doesn’t maintain a minimum sales average of 15-20k units per year…with 2009 sales of only 15k units, and 2010 sales tracking to hit about the same number, the Ridgeline is very close to being unsustainable.
The fuel economy isn’t good enough to justify the small motor. The Ridgeline’s fuel economy figures aren’t that bad compared to most trucks – 15 mpg city and 20 mpg highway. Back in 2005, that 20 mpg highway number was genuinely exciting. However, by 2009, Ford and GM were offering V8’s that offered the same (or essentially the same) fuel economy, and this year Toyota’s 4.6L V8 gets close as well.
While there’s a difference between ‘close’ and actually matching the Ridgeline’s fuel economy figures, consider this: the Tundra’s 4.6L V8 has 310 hp and 327 lb-ft of torque compared to the Ridgeline 3.5L V6 that offers only 250 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque. Look at the numbers and ask yourself if you’re willing to trade a 24% reduction in torque for a 5% improvement in gas mileage.
The Ridgeline looks weird. Love it or hate it, you’ve got to admit the Ridgeline looks different. Kudos to Honda for trying to see if the ‘lunar lander’ look would excite the public, but the problem with bold styling is that sometimes it’s too bold, and potential buyers find themselves uncomfortable with the ‘statement’ that driving a unique style would make.
The Ridgeline’s capabilities were never good enough. People who are experts on cars insist that the average truck owner doesn’t need the capabilities of the truck they drive. Citing studies and market research as ‘proof’ that truck buyers really don’t need to tow or haul a huge payload, these car experts determined that the Ridgeline’s 5k lbs towing capacity and V6 would be more than adequate for the average truck owner.
Unfortunately, car experts just don’t get it – it’s true that most trucks are rarely pushed to their physical limits. However, that’s by design. If a ‘truck person’ needs to tow 5k lbs on a regular basis, he or she will buy a full size because they want the extra capacity just in case. If they tow 10k lbs on a regular basis, they go and buy a SuperDuty. Sure – a Tacoma will tow 5k just fine and a Tundra will tow 10k with a power to spare – but truck people aren’t interested in buying a truck they have to worry about maxing out. By buying a little bigger than we need, we guarantee our trucks are never pushed too far and we never worry about being in a situation we can’t handle.
That’s how a truck person thinks. Unfortunately, Honda either didn’t have any truck people on board when they conceived the Ridgeline or they didn’t listen to them. So long, Ridgeline – it was interesting.
Filed Under: Auto News