Illustration © Mark Stehrenberger

A New Honda Truck with GM Powerplants in 2003

One of the rumors circulating around Detroit during the North American International Auto Show was that Honda may produce a mid- or full size pickup truck, around the size of the Toyota Tundra, in the United States.

While no official word has been heard about whether the truck will be produced there is an interesting aspect to this story to consider. In late December General Motors and Honda Motor Company announced plans for a powertrain cross-supply arrangement as the first step in a new relationship that may lead to future cooperation in other areas. As part of this agreement, GM is expected to receive Honda made engines for use in GM cars - most likely the Oldsmobile line. So what can Honda expect to receive in kind? Considering Honda's weak showing in the hot truck and SUV segment (relying on rebadged Isuzus and a small self-produced SUV) where GM excels, Honda will probably produce its new pickup powered by GM's 4.8L Vortec 4800 or 5.3L Vortec 5300. The Vortec 4800 has 270 horsepower and 285 lb-ft. of torque, while the 5300 features 285 horsepower at 5000 rpm and 325 lb-ft. of torque. Both engines were first introduced in the 1999 GM model lineup. Honda may also choose to emulate Toyota and its full size pickup truck program by creating a full sized SUV off the same platform if demand exists for this type of vehicle.

On the same note: the Honda Spocket concept truck shown in Detroit was designed to gauge public perception and acceptance towards a new Honda pickup truck and so far the reception seems to have been positive.