Honda Ridgeline Proves the Ranger Is Just a Little Too Late
Chevy and Toyota who? That’s what Honda is saying, as the Ridgeline viciously eats away at their market share.
Yes, I know how you feel about anything that’s not American or V8-powered. The truth is, I feel that way too. After all, there’s a reason why the Ford F-150 is the best selling vehicle in the United States — period. But, I have to let you in on a bit of a secret.
The Honda Ridgeline is a fantastic truck. At least it is for us folks who don’t really need the capabilities of a full-size, half-ton truck on a daily basis. Surprisingly enough (not really), over 40,000 people not only agree with me, but have gone as far as purchasing one in the last 12 months. Sure, Ford manages to sell just as many F-150s in two weeks, but there’s enough reason for the Blue Oval to worry about the Ridgeline’s insurgency, especially since their direct competitor is still — at least — 16 months away.
The Ranger will surely sell exponentially, there’s no doubt about that. What there is a doubt about, is whether Dearborn has waited far too long to pull the trigger on a midsize truck?
According to sources, the Honda Ridgeline currently accounts for one out of ten vehicles in the midsize pickup truck segment. The king of the castle, the Toyota Tacoma, managed to sell 191,631 trucks in 2016, the Chevy Colorado 146,174, and the Nissan Frontier 86,926. As you can see, a 10-percent market share loss isn’t exactly peanuts.
Jeff Conrad, general manager of American Honda Motor Co. told Bloomberg that “Honda could have easily sold more trucks, but the Lincoln, Ala., plant where it welds them together is already operating at full capacity.” Keep in mind that Honda’s current success has been brewing while Ford’s board of directors discussed self-driving Fusions and tiny EcoSport crossovers.
Another key aspect that separates Honda’s midsize truck from the rest of the pack, is that fact that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. The Ridgeline is chill — is fun. During my recent experience with a 2017 model, I used the in-bed trunk to keep my gear safe from the rain, but also as a massive cooler during a tailgate party.
As millions of people migrate from sedans to crossovers, SUVs and trucks every year, the fight for midsize truck supremacy will be downright fierce when the world-famous Ford arrives.
Will the Ranger rocket to the top of the charts? More importantly, how will its rivals perform from now until the first truck rolls off the line? If we can learn anything from the last 12 months, is that the competition can come from anywhere — even from Honda!
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