The next generation of the Japanese auto maker’s compact pickup is not expected in the U.S. for another 2½ years.
Ridgeline pickup may get new moniker.
SOUTHFIELD, MI –’s Ridgeline compact pickup could get a new name with the next generation’s debut.
“We need a truck theway; we need a Honda truck,” Rick Schostek, senior vice president-Honda North America, tells a Society of Automotive Analysts conference here today.
Asked if that means a name change is possible for the pickup, which debuted in the U.S. in 2005, Honda spokesman Sage Marie says, “We can’t say yet.”
Marie says there’s a good chance the truck’s name will remain Ridgeline, but a final decision hasn’t been made.
A search of U.S. trademarks shows Honda considered at one time the name “Rockline” for the Ridgeline, but allowed ownership of that moniker expire in 2005.
Both Schostek and Marie emphasize Honda is committed to remaining in the compact pickup’s segment, and Schostek says the next-generation Ridgeline, no matter the name, will stay true to the original’s concept.
“It’ll be unique to Honda, which is what the Ridgeline is and what we intend to keep it as,” he tells media.
The Ridgeline raised eyebrows in the industry at its launch for its unconventional, unibody platform and in-bed storage box.
As WardsAuto reported in July, the current-generation Ridgeline is due to end production in September 2014, two years ahead of the next-generation’s debut in second-quarter 2016.
On the other end of the product spectrum, Honda will launch two new small models next year in the U.S.: the next-generation Fit subcompact and an all-new small cross/utility vehicle based on the Fit’s platform.
The new Fit is set to go on sale in the spring and the small CUV, based on the Urban SUV concept from the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, will debut in fall 2014, Marie says.
The two models will be assembled at Honda’s under-construction plant in Celaya, Mexico. The facility is set to open in first-quarter 2014 and will have annual capacity for 200,000 units.
While the CUV will occupy the same segment as theJuke and Kia Soul, it will be less quirky than those two models and more spacious, harkening back to the original CR-V CUV.
“You look in that market and you see cars like Juke and Kia Soul, and there’s nothing that really occupies where CR-V used to be in terms of size and price, so there’s opportunity there,” Marie says.
He promises the small Honda CUV will have the most interior space in the segment, with the “smallest possible exterior space.”