three years after its debut, the unconventional Honda Ridgeline may
finally be proving it’s the shape of things to come. The Ridgeline
is poised to become one of this year’s top 10 best-selling pickups
in the U.S., overtaking some very well-known trucks in the process.
The Ridgeline has sold 13,656 units so far this year. That beats the
11,331 Dodge Dakota and 13,074 Chevrolet Avalanche pickups that have
sold since Jan. 1. In April, the Ridgeline missed catching the Nissan
Titan in year-to-date sales by just 106 units, and it outsold the Titan
4,158 to 2,407.
remarkable is that each of those trucks soundly outsold the Ridgeline
in 2007. Overall sales for that year were 50,702 for the Dakota, 55,550
for the Avalanche and 65,746 for the Titan. Honda sold 42,795 Ridgelines
its increases relative to competitors, overall Ridgeline sales are
down this year from 2007 levels, as are most pickups. Ridgeline sales
are down 7.2%, but that’s much less than the Avalanche’s 34%
sales slide, the Dakota’s 42% drop and the Titan’s 42.7%
(as of April)
(as of April)
keeping Ridgeline sales relatively strong? Traditional
truck buyers have shunned the Ridgeline's unibody construction, independent
rear suspension and relatively limited towing and off-road capabilities.
possible, with regular gas prices averaging almost $4.00 a gallon,
that the perception of superior fuel economy is helping maintain Ridgeline
sales. The V-6 powered Ridgeline is rated at 15/20 mpg city/highway,
but the V-8 equipped Avalanche and Dakota each achieve 14/19 mpg. Could
1 mpg really make that much difference, or is it the fact that the
Ridgeline breaks the 20-mpg barrier?
It's also likely that the Ridgeline is attracting first-time truck buyers
who want a moderately capable pickup with Honda's reputation for quality.
That factor would become even more of a selling point in the current
tough economic and energy climate, making the Ridgeline look like a safe
Other manufacturers have noticed the Ridgeline's steady sales volumes.
concept Toyota brought to the 2008 Detroit auto show and GM’s GMC Denali
XT concept that debuted at the Chicago show both use unibody
construction and advanced propulsion systems meant to achieve optimal
2009 Pilot crossover that just went on sale
features improved fuel economy and usability versus the vehicle it replaces,
though some say its exterior styling is a big step backward. Because
the Ridgeline is based on the Pilot's platform, a Ridgeline 2.0 probably
isn't too far behind. If Honda can deliver a few more mpg and offer buyers
a wider range of configurations (like front- and all-wheel drive), we'll
likely see the Ridgeline continue to climb the sales chart.