DETROIT – The next Alabama-made vehicle made its debut today at the North American International Auto Show – the all-new 2017 Honda Ridgeline pickup, which is joining the production lineup at the automaker’s Lincoln assembly plant.
Appearing in dealer showrooms in the spring, the second-generation Ridgeline is arriving on the market at a time when light trucks and SUVs are in hot demand. To capitalize on the Detroit unveiling, Honda is featuring the new pickup in a Super Bowl 50 commercial next month.
At today’s debut, John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co., said the new Ridgeline is equipped with many segment-leading features while preserving elements of the original version of the pick-up, including an in-bed trunk and a dual-action tailgate. One new wrinkle: The trunk bed comes with a built-in sound system and a 400-watt outlet for a flat-screen TV or other devices.
“It’s the Honda of trucks — fully confident and competent but all together new and innovative,” Mendel said.
Before today’s appearance at the auto show, the new Ridgeline had been displayed only in one partial photograph and an artist’s sketch.
This will be the second stint for Ridgeline production in Alabama. The first-generation pickup was produced in Canada beginning in 2005, before Honda transferred output to the Alabama plant in February 2009.
Between then and July 2014, when production was suspended, the Lincoln facility built 100,662 Ridgeline trucks.
Honda Manufacturing of Alabama (HMA) produced just under 350,000 vehicles in 2015 — 150,607 Odyssey minivans; 132,718 Pilot SUVs; and 66,061 Acura MDX luxury SUVs. The Lincoln factory is the sole global production source for each of those vehicles.
Last year, Honda’s Alabama plant launched production of the redesigned 2016 Honda Pilot, which was a finalist for the North American Truck of the Year Award presented earlier today at the Detroit auto show.
“Customer response to our all-new Pilot, combined with continued demand for the Odyssey and Acura MDX presented a very challenging and rewarding year for the more than 4,500 associates at our Lincoln facility,” said HMA President Jeff Tomko. “Once again, the commitment and dedication of “Team HMA’ enabled us to have a very successful start to our 15th year of production in Alabama.”
Honda has built more than 3.5 million vehicles and engines in Alabama since 2001. Later this year, it will begin producing an all-new Odyssey minivan.