A rumor has it that the Honda Ridgeline pickup will be a taking a two-year break before launching an all-new version in 2016. While this may be interesting news to the small collection of its fans, the truck isn’t exactly sought after. Will the new truck change this?

Honda Ridgeline Two-Year Production Sabbatical
Wards Auto claims that the Ridgeline will end production in 2014 and a new model won’t be introduced until 2016.

Since its introduction in 2005, the Ridgeline has had many truck fans scratching their heads. Is it a full-size truck or a compact/mid-size truck? Can you tow with it or will it break? What is up with the locking trunk in the bed?

The truth is that the Ridgeline is tough to categorize. It is simply a different type of vehicle and trying to call it a “truck” at all isn’t extremely accurate. It really has been made to fill a niche and has done a good job of attracting a loyal fan base.

Yet, a new rumor/update has been a long time coming. In fact, Honda announced three years ago that a new Ridgeline was coming in 2011. Then 2011 came and passed. Loyal fans declared that Honda simply wasn’t ready and recession screwed up a new model (if you believe the forums). Now comes word that the truck will be a taking a two-year production “time-out” to prepare for the next generation. A reports in Ward’s Auto says that the Lincoln, AL plant (home to the Ridgeline) will be shutting down in September of 2014. And a new Honda Ridgeline won’t be available until 2016. With the delay, leading people to question Honda’s commitment to the Ridgeline, a company spokesman told Ward’s, “Ridgeline continues to be an important part of our lineup.” Sure.

A sure sign of any vehicle’s demise is the lack of attention and new features. This description seems to fit the Ridgeline well as it is virtually the same vehicle that first appeared in 2006. It is highly suspicious then if the truck will come back.

The case for the Ridgeline coming back is actually in its favor. Yes, it isn’t the true North American truck like a Ford F-150, but it does fill a niche. Many buyers want the versatility of a pickup without the large fuel costs and upfront costs. This consumer demand has been so high actually, there are several rumors of an El Camino variant making a return.

One thing is for sure, the truck market is rapidly changing due to pending CAFE regulations and consumer demand for more plush rides with better fuel economy. Frankly, the Ridgeline meets many of these consumers needs.

Will the next-generation build on what made it special or be a true competitor in the profitable truck market? Sadly, we won’t know until 2016.

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Tim is an automotive journalist and contributor to many sites. He mainly covers the full-size truck market because according to him "that's where its at. Hello?" A native of Michigan who ran to Colorado as soon as he could, he enjoys writing, sports, golf and spending time with his wife and three kids.

5 thoughts on “Honda Ridgeline Two-Year Production Sabbatical (Rumor)”

  1. Honda is going through a deep reshuffle and are working on revamping their line up. I test drove the Accord Plug-In Hybrid and it was Honda back to serious business. The car felt great, and the drivetrain got me feeling the company is back doing what it does best, engineer good cars. I’m driving the CR-Z at this moment, and It’s a blast!

    It’s tougher to figure out what they want to do with the Ridgeline. Pickup trucks don’t sell as well as they used to, but every big carmaker needs to have one. I think it’s smart of them to let a year or two go by and see what happens.

    I like your point on classification. Like the Crosstour, what category does it fall in? All in all, Honda distilled the build-to-fit-all philosophy. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I’m just happy they are going back to great engineered cars.

  2. Honda’s Ridgeline has been on life support for a long, long time…and Honda hasn’t killed it yet. Evidently, Honda *can* make money producing the same exact vehicle year after year without spending a penny on design…

    Of course, pending fuel economy rules and regs will force Honda to do something with the current model, and that’s the rub: Can Honda justify the cost of updating the Ridgeline if it’s only going to sell a few thousand copies a year (perhaps 20k in a good year)? It’s sharing parts with the Pilot (which helps the ROI calculation), but the Ridgeline’s fuel economy rating is just as bad as much larger trucks with much bigger engines. Therefore, I don’t see Honda keeping the Ridgeline without making major changes…and major changes are too costly to justify.

    I’d read in Auto News that it would be replaced with a smaller truck based on the CR-V platform, and that perhaps this new Ridgeline would be a truck that could be sold in more than the United States. If this new Ridgeline was global, Honda could try to steal sales from the Amarok and global Ranger. That would help amortize R&D costs, which makes the ROI calcs much better.

    Still, does Honda want to be in the truck business? Methinks the execs in Japan hate that idea.

    1. Great points Jason but I don’t think it is a bad idea for Honda to get into the truck market. Even if the market share is small they need to start somewhere and steadily grow it. It would be a good idea for them to build a smaller truck first that can share components with the Pilot or CRV.

      Thanks for leaving a great comment.

  3. As a ridgeline owner and weekend warrior, this is by far the best truck I’ve ever had. I can’t imagine people hauling their honda motocross bikes on back of Tacoma or other trucks, in Asian culture, pride is a big thing. I welcome the idea of redesigning ridge smaller based on crv, perhaps hybrid even. Most ridge owner dont attempt to tow heavy trailers anyways….this is a suburban truck not a workhorse. In the, my hopes will be killed by the infamouse chicken tax.

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