Honda Dumps Trucks, Creates Cars

John Horner
by John Horner
honda dumps trucks creates cars

Remember how much people (OK industry wonks) sneered at the Honda Pilot and Ridgeline for being unibody designs descended from a minivan, which in turn was based on the Accord sedan? Well, Honda made some money on their trucks while the making was good. And now, along with everybody else, not. But while GM’s busy closing factories, Honda’s reaping the rewards of its investment in flexible manufacturing. They’re scaling down production of slow-selling Pilots and Odysseys, making room for more Accords. And they don’t need the United Auto Workers permission to do it. [The Wall Street Journal chronicles the swap.] The main U.S. Accord plant in Ohio will build more of the suddenly hot four-cylinder version. Honda also plans to cut back on Accord imports from Japan. One might think all this would be a plus for America’s balance of trade, but maybe not… Back in the day. the transplants used the U.S. to crank-out the new hotness, while letting Asia carry-on with the old. The new Honda Insight/Prius-fighter will be built in Japan.

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  • AJ AJ on Oct 15, 2008

    About two months a co-worker bought an Accord due to that she couldn't get a Civic at the time, which is what she was told was common that people were upgrading to an Accord. Tomorrow I am picking up a Civic I ordered five weeks ago. The dealer I recall had a lot full of Civics a year ago and now only has a couple at a time on the lot. I went by this morning and along with my coupe they had received four sedans. I'll add that I'm a Jeep guy, but I'm tired of buying UAW built vehicles when they support socialist politicians. Take that UAW!

  • Mikeolan Mikeolan on Oct 15, 2008

    That doesn't justify the fact that the Ridgeline is one of the most miserable vehicles in existence on the road today.... and Accord sales have plummeted- people don't want a fat, inefficient Honda.

  • Bunter1 Bunter1 on Oct 15, 2008

    Gotta take the opposite stance on the Ridgeline, Fleet centrals MY08 data showed the Ridge retail sales ahead of the Dakota and Canyon. Considering that it is only available as a crewcab/shortbed/V6/auto with no low price model this is impressive. I suspect that only the Taco moves more V6 crews in the mid-size market. This is a failure? Sorry mikeolan, but the Ridge spanked every competitor in every comparo I saw and owner satisfaction numbers and long term test responses have been excellent. I admit it is not for everbody but miserable? Just some pentup Ridgeline thoughts. Bunter

  • Rm Rm on Oct 15, 2008

    SkiD666: Honda's flexibility is far more fine grained than that. If I understand the process correctly, assuming subcomponent logistics are in place, Honda can run a Ridgeline down the same line as a Civic. They have to leave a gap in the line so the switch isn't without cost, but they can do it. Dedicating a factory to production of a specific vehicle just means they're running the line(s) more efficiently. Honda deliberately engineers their vehicles to work within their manufacturing system so that they maintain this level of flexibility. Contrast that to the Detroit OEMs where plants are capable of producing only a small subset of the total product mix, and you can see where Honda's investment in 'build anything, anywhere, anytime' flexibility could pay off significantly.