By on May 21, 2015

2016 Honda Pilot Elite

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]

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16 Comments on “Honda Continues Shift Toward SUVs, Crossovers With 2016 Pilot Production...”

  • avatar

    That crossover screams Mitsubishi, I have to remind myself it’s a Honda. Also the article title makes one assume they are going to read about Honda either introducing another crossover, or dropping a car.

    Honda isn’t shifting to crossovers (they make no SUVs), consumers are switching to crossovers.

    Crossovers and SUVs are historically more normal than cars; how we ended up in a competition to see how far we could test the knees and hips of people with low to the ground cars, makes you wonder.

    • 0 avatar

      “Crossovers and SUVs are historically more normal than cars.”

      Only if your history goes back to 1954.

      • 0 avatar

        “Only if your history goes back to 1954.”

        Actually, no. Earlier cars were also quite a bit higher off the ground, but they were also more dictated by available technology than current cars. The “norm” of low-slung sedans occurred in the the 60s-90s…but before that it was quite different.

      • 0 avatar

        Have you ever climbed into a early 20th century automobile? Definately didn’t sit on the ground, neither did the horse drawn carriages before that.

  • avatar

    CUV are profitable and buyers expect quality, so they can and will be made in the US. Except the HRV, that’s not profitable enough to build in the US, so the labor must be performed in Mexico.

    I still won’t buy a Mexican-built vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Given the cost of transportation, local manufacture for the local market is often attractive today. That’s why so many ‘foreign’ mfrs have their plants in the US – not for quality reasons. Quality is mostly built into the design now, and doesn’t derive so much from the labor.

      I no longer care much about the country of origin – and neither do most US consumers any more.

      You really can’t back up your concerns about Mexican-built quality.

      • 0 avatar

        I think most of a vehicle’s quality is the quality of the parts. If the subcontractors send you leaky pumps, squeaky bushings or half dead batteries then the best factory assemble won’t help.

      • 0 avatar

        Agreed on Mexican build quality, there is nothing to suggest that models built in Mexico are of lower (assembly) quality than those built elsewhere.

        • 0 avatar

          For people who won’t buy Mexican built cars, you are just denying yourself a well built car. I had a PT Cruiser, built in Saltillo, Mexico. I drove it for ten years and had no major problems with it. Water pump and cam belt change at ninety thousand miles, were basically it. Much different than some of the GM pieces of garbage that I owned over the years. If you won’t buy Mexican, you are giving some other person a chance at a well built car.

        • 0 avatar

          But they don’t cost the consumer any less, where is the incentive?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    With this move, Honda may find themselves moving down the CAFE ladder soon.

  • avatar

    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!

  • avatar

    Looks like a blatant copy of the (now) 4-year old Santa Fe…

    Way to go Honda…

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    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.

  • avatar

    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.

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