Honda Continues Shift Toward SUVs, Crossovers With 2016 Pilot Production

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon

With the 2016 Pilot leaving the assembly line starting Thursday, Honda continues its progress toward more SUVs and crossovers over passenger cars.

According to American Honda sales boss John Mendel, 49 percent of the automaker’s U.S. production consists of SUVs and crossovers, and could go further depending on the growth rates between passenger car and light-duty truck markets, The Detroit Bureau reports.

The increase is being aided by Honda’s Lincoln, Ala. factory, where the Pilot, Odyssey and Acura MDX are assembled. The facility is expected to produce 120,000 Pilots annually once production is at full bore, and will begin production of the second-gen Ridgeline in the near future. Mendel says the factory has “some upside potential” as more new product and capacity comes online.

In addition, Honda’s new plant in Celaya, Mexico is helping the automaker enter the U.S. subcompact crossover market with the introduction of the HR-V, whose competitors include the Jeep Renegade and Chevrolet Trax.

Mendel says Honda is looking for more opportunities to expand, though the search for so-called “white space” may diminish over time, prompting the automaker to seek better fortunes over “an incremental 5,000 units of sales.”

[Photo credit: Honda]

Cameron Aubernon
Cameron Aubernon

Seattle-based writer, blogger, and photographer for many a publication. Born in Louisville. Raised in Kansas. Where I lay my head is home.

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4 of 16 comments
  • RideHeight RideHeight on May 21, 2015

    OMG that new Pilot is glorious! It's my 3rd gen CRV on steroids. I was all set to hate it for losing its squareness but damn!

  • Theonewhogotaway Theonewhogotaway on May 21, 2015

    Looks like a blatant copy of the (now) 4-year old Santa Fe... Way to go Honda...

  • Jeff S Jeff S on May 21, 2015

    Crossovers are the hottest selling vehicle and there is more profit selling a crossover than sedans. Honda is smart to exploit the crossover segment. I like the new Pilot, it is much less boxy than the outgoing model.

  • Bd2 Bd2 on May 22, 2015

    Waiting for Honda to design something that isn't so bland and/or have some design element that is bizarre/ungainly (aside from the Accord coupe). Taking it for granted that the new Pilot has improved upon the areas that needed improvement that it will continue to be a big seller for Honda, but was hoping for something more from the design dept.