Ridgeline Will Continue?! Honda Blows Smoke

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Last week, USA Today reported that Honda will “keep it’s Ridgeline pickup,” saying that “the Ridgeline pickup will go on.” This news would seem to refute our prediction that the Ridgeline will be discontinued in 2012. While Ridgeline fans were understandably excited about this news, we think that Honda’s announcement was just meant to keep sales from crashing.

Honda Ridgeline canceled

Honda says that the Ridgeline will continue, but we think it's smoke.

Here’s why:

1. Despite the headline, Honda’s spokesperson made a non-specific commitment to the Ridgeline. Honda Exec. VP Mendel said “We think we have a ways to go on the Ridgeline”, yet when pressed, Mendel was non-committal on exactly what that means. “A ways to go” could mean years, or it could mean months.

2. Honda has to lie about their plans. Few will buy a product that is scheduled to be canceled, at least not without incentives. It’s probable that rumors of the Ridgeline’s cancellation are impacting sales – by dismissing these rumors, Honda helps preserve sales.

3. Honda has lied about canceling a vehicle before. If you’re an auto industry enthusiast, you probably know that Honda officially announced their intention to cancel the Element just last month. The funny thing is, in December 2009, a certain Honda Exec. VP told Automotive News that the Element would be continued despite slow sales.

Yes, that’s right folks: Josh Mendel told Automotive News (subs. reqd.) in December, 2009 that Honda wouldn’t be canceling the Element. One year later, it’s canceled. Would Mendel pull the same trick with the Ridgeline in 2010?

4. The reasons to cancel the Ridgeline haven’t changed. Ridgeline sales, in a word, suck. Honda sold 16,142 Ridgelines last year, a 1.3% decline compared to 2009. Ridgeline sales are better than the Ram’s Dakota (about 13k sold in 2010) and just barely less than the Explorer Sport Trac…and both the Dakota and the Sport Trac are being discontinued. Honda’s Ridgeline sales place the vehicle squarely in the “likely to be canceled” category.

While the Ridgeline is a fine product – Honda makes a great car – the fact of the matter is that automakers need to sell 20-25k units of a particular model each year to be profitable (unless that model is expensive, such as a luxury vehicle or sports car). The economies of scale in the auto industry dictate that Honda cancel the Ridgeline – we stand by our prediction.


Filed Under: Auto News


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  1. Steve H says:

    If you think about other trucks, most are available in different cab styles. The Ridgeline is only available in one. If you find how many Tacoma’s, Frontiers, Tundra’s or any other truck are sold in supercabs, it may not be that much higher than the ridgeline’s. I think Honda should make a two door ridgeline, it might sell better than the four door.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Me thinks you need a better photoshopist

  3. Jason (Admin) says:

    Steve H – It might be a good model, but the economics of offering two cab styles are perilous. I was told by more than one Ford rep back in my dealership days that Ford rarely made money on Regular cab pickups, even though they sold thousands of them. The reason? Designing and building a regular cab version is nearly as complicated and expensive as building and designing a completely different vehicle.

    Ford could save money if they got rid of regular cabs (at least that’s what I was told), but they’ll never do it of course because consumers demand that option.

    My point: Honda might sell more extended cab versions of the Ridgeline than crew cab versions, but would they sell enough to justify the expense of this new configuration?

  4. Steve H says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if honda is lieing. Makes scense.

  5. TXTee says:

    I dunno….nothing about Honda appeals to me except their small engine offerings. The cars are too common and quite frankly I don’t want to drive something every teenager, young adult, and soccer mom has. Also think they’re getting “plasticky” on the inside and not offering much performance. Great cars for budget-minded reliability and access to parts….but nothing appealing. And their “truck” is as ugly as all get out that I’d never step foot in the dealership. Never seen one hauling or towing something to make me think it can do the work.

  6. Steve H says:

    I too think Honda might be slipping in the sporty category. All there cars still have sporty characteristics like accord and civic, but I think the CR-Z was a fail! As for the Ridgeline, 5000 lbs of towing a 1500 lbs of payload is all you got. But it will out corner any truck out there and the fun factor is through the roof. Thats what makes it so great.

  7. TXTee says:

    I haven’t gotten over the appearance yet……If I want to drift and corner I’ll get a sports car. 🙂

  8. Steve H says:

    The Ridgeline is good for people who wish they could have a car but need the payload and towing of a truck.

  9. Ken K. says:

    I own a 2010 Honda Ridgeline. I have had many trucks over the years and the Ridgeline is the nicest, most enjoyable one I have owned. If I needed a farm ir work truck, the Honda probably isn’t what I would buy, however, for the comfort and cool features of a really nice car (plus the road hugging features of a sports car) and the ability to haul items home that I might normally have to pay someone to deliver (and the spacious trunk under the bed),you can’t beat this vehicle. I will be enjoying it for many years. Guess i don’t care if they quit making them; as I already have mine.

  10. Matt says:

    I’m 17 and own a 2006 honda ridgeline that my parents purchased in 2005. It has 230 000+ miles on it and 50 000+ of those have been on some of the most unforgiving roads and around 100 000 have been hauling boats, quads, and cars. However, even empty it has week acceleration yet it handles like a luxury sedan in the corners (minus the ability to truly power out). Unfortunately the ridgeline will never catch on due to the lack of low end power, the front wheel bias which makes towing difficult, lack of a legitimate 4 wheel drive system and because honda will not release a 2wd ridge for southern markets. If honda were to turbo it like the ford eco-boost and make the chassis capable of towing the same as standard full size pick ups they would increase sales dramatically. Furthermore, if they want to attract people to purchase and to keep them they need to make the rear suspension stiffer. I have driven it with a single quad in the bed and it was nearly scraping the ground and don’t get me started about my parents boat. I attempted to pull it out and I couldn’t budge it or get wheel spin because there is no low end. I had to ask a guy to pull it out with his full size and it did it no problem. (i know the ridge isn’t the one to haul out a 33 footer but i was just going to haul it 3miles of flat to dry dock)

  11. tim chukwunwogor says:

    whats wrong with honda,though they esperience lack of suvs and trucks in thier fleet yet they are discontinueing cars like mad,i just learnt the honda element has been discontinued

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