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Trucks Carrying the Load for Honda

New Ridgeline pickups, SUVs responsible for surging sales, profits.

by on Aug.03, 2016

A scene from a new Honda Ridgeline ad.

When it first began rolling into the U.S. market nearly five decades, Honda put the emphasis on pint-sized products like the 600 minicar. The brand was barely noticed by American motorists until the twin oil shocks of the 1970s put fuel economy high on the priority list.

A new series of ads Honda is launching this week shows how much times have changed once again. Dubbed the “Power of Ridgeline,” the campaign focuses on Honda’s recently relaunched midsize pickup. While Honda continues to offer American buyers downsized models like the Fit, HR-V and Civic, it has reason to be focusing on the truck side of its line-up.

Your Auto Insider!

Overall, American Honda reported a 4.4% increase in sales for July, running ahead of a U.S. market that some fear is beginning to slow down after six years of rapid growth. But that only tells a part of the story, for it was the truck side of the line-up that propelled Honda’s strong showing last month, models like the Ridgeline, CR-V and Pilot up 12.2% year-over-year.

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Honda Punches Up Ridgeline Fuel Economy by 5 MPG

Automakers finding way to get car-like mileage out of trucks.

by on Apr.29, 2016

The 2017 Honda Ridgeline made its debut at this year's Detroit Auto Show.

Honda expects to get as much as five miles per gallon better mileage out of its reborn Ridgeline pickup when it goes on sale over the summer.

That’s in keeping with a general trend that’s seen a big boost of the fuel economy of next-generation trucks and SUVs. And, industry leaders are betting, it will mean that American motorists will be far less likely to flee back to conventional sedans and coupes if – or, more likely, when – fuel prices start rising again.

The Last Word!

According to figures filed with the Environmental Protection Agency, which oversees mileage testing, the front-wheel-drive version of the 2017 Honda Ridgeline will deliver 19 mpg in the city, 26 on the highway. The all-wheel-drive model will trim a single mpg off those numbers, to 18 and 25.

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Ford’s New Raptor Goes Off-Road Racing

Performance truck entering new Desert series.

by on Feb.03, 2016

Ford's Raptor off-road racer.

Only weeks after revealing its new Raptor SuperCrew, Ford says it will send the performance truck out racing as part of the 2016 Best in the Desert off-road series’ new factory stock class.

Based in Las Vegas, Best in the Desert will stage nine races this year, including the Vegas to Reno run, the longest off-road race in the United States. The second event in the series, the Bluewater Resort, gets underway in Arizona on Thursday, February 4th, and marks the official race debut of the 217 Ford Raptor.

Motor Sports News!

“The all-new Raptor has the DNA of a Baja race truck, with a purpose-built engine, chassis and suspension that enables it to travel fast over challenging desert landscapes or crawl over rocky terrain,” boasted Jamal Hameedi, chief engineer of Ford Performance, in a prepared release.

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Honda Getting Back in the Game to Launch New Ridgeline Pickup

Reborn truck to be unveiled in Detroit, with Super Bowl 50 to kick off marketing efforts.

by on Dec.18, 2015

Honda will launch its marketing campaign for the 2017 Ridgeline with a costly Super Bowl 50 spot.

Honda is hoping to score a touchdown as it returns to the crowded line-up of advertisers planning to participate in Super Bowl 50, its spot focusing on the launch of the revived Honda Ridgeline pickup.

The second-generation Ridgeline will make its official debut at the Detroit Auto Show on January 11th, landing at a seemingly perfect time for the Japanese maker. Truck sales, in general, dominated the sales charts in 2015, and after years of decline, demand for mid-size models has shown a sudden resurgence.

Truck Talk!

Buying a 60-second spot won’t come cheap, with an estimated price of $4 million or more, according to ad industry insiders. But Honda division chief Jeff Conrad insists it will be worth it. “The big game is the largest and most coveted stage to show the world that Honda is back in a big way with an all-new Ridgeline truck,” he said.

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Honda Baja Racer Reveals Revived Ridgeline

Baja 1000 meant to prove the mettle underneath the new sheet metal.

by on Nov.04, 2015

Honda's Baja racer is a thinly disguised version of the reborn, 2017 Ridgeline pickup.

Honda’s heading back to Baja, and that’s good news for both racing fans and those who’re simply hoping to get a good look at the reborn Ridgeline pickup.

The Japanese maker turned to the annual SEMA Show to announce it will be competing in the grueling Baja 1000 again, after turning in a series of class victories earlier in the decade. And the truck of choice for Honda Performance Development and the Proctor Racing Group? A modified version of the 2017 Ridgeline.

Keep on Truckin'!

While it’s not exactly factory spec, the truck on display at the Las Vegas Convention Center gives us a good sense of what we’ll see when the 2017 Honda Ridgeline rolls into showrooms not that many months from now.

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Ford Recalling Ranger Pickup for Duty in US

Ford expected to respond to growing demand for midsize pickups.

by on Aug.26, 2015

Ford would need to make major changes to the global Ranger for the U.S. market.

Ford may be ready to do an about face and return to the American midsize passenger car market. After repeatedly insisting that buyers were more interested in full-sized trucks like the company’s big F-150, Ford is reportedly preparing a U.S. version of the midsize Ranger model it launched overseas two years ago.

The move appears to be triggered by the unexpectedly strong response to the all-new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon models General Motors launched last year. Ford abandoned the segment in 2011 when it stopped production of the older version of its Ranger. It has frequently said the new model was not intended for the North American market, but a revised version is apparently under development.

The Back Story!

The move not only could fill a big hole in Ford’s otherwise strong and profitable line-up but also solve a political problem for the carmaker as it races to reach a settlement with the United Auto Workers. The two sides have until September 14th to reach a new four-year contract, and a potential sticking point was Ford’s earlier announcement it would end production in Michigan of two compact models. The same plant now appears likely to handle the new Ranger.

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Honda Shifting from Cars to Trucks

Maker searching for more “white space” opportunities.

by on May.21, 2015

Honda's 2016 Pilot begins rolling off the company's assembly line in Lincoln, Alabama, today.

Things will be getting busy at the Honda Manufacturing of Alabama plant today – make that busier – as the first of the maker’s new 2016 Pilot SUVs begins rolling down the line.

It’s the third-generation version of the three-row ute that has become not just one of the most popular vehicles in its segment but a symbol of some major changes at the Japanese brand. Long focused on sedans and coupes like the Accord and Civic, Honda is steadily shifting emphasis from passenger cars to sport- and crossover-utility vehicles.

Automotive Insight!

Already, truck models make up 49% of total U.S. production, noted John Mendel, Honda’s top U.S. executive, “and we could flex that even further,” he said during a teleconference with reporters marking the launch of Pilot production. “That depends on the car market and how much the truck market grows.” (more…)

Nissan Teases New Pickup

Frontier set for global unveiling next week.

by on Jun.03, 2014

Nissan will initially launch the next-generation Frontier model -- also known as the Navarra - abroad.

It could be a big year ahead for Nissan in the truck category. The maker has already confirmed that it will unveil an all-new version of its full-size Titan at the 2015 Detroit Motor Show, and now it is sending out a Twitter heads-up alerting the world that it will pull the wraps off a second pickup next week.

“There’s a special member of the #Nissan family on the way. Due date: June 11th,” the maker revealed, adding an image of a gauze-covered truck that TheDetroitBureau.com has confirmed is the next-generation Frontier model.

The New Frontier!

“The Nissan Frontier is a very important part of the Nissan lineup and of our truck growth strategy for the U.S.,” the maker responded to a query from TheDetroitBureau.com. “We remain committed to midsize pickup segment where the U.S.-built Nissan Frontier is the second-best selling truck in the market.  Here in the U.S., we’re gearing up for next year’s launch of the all-new full-size Nissan Titan.”

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Honda Offers Glimpse of Next-Gen Ridgeline Pickup

New truck due in "less than two years."

by on Dec.10, 2013

A new sketch hints at what will be the reborn Honda Ridgeline midsize pickup.

While Honda plans to pull the plug on its edgy little Ridgeline pickup at the end of the 2014 model-year, the maker isn’t walking away from what some analysts believe could become a newly resurgent market segment.

A sketch released by the Japanese maker offers a hint of what the next-generation Honda Ridgeline will look like, an accompanying release suggesting the next-gen pickup “will come to market in less than two years.”

Keep on Truckin'!

As with the soon-to-disappear version of the Ridgeline, the next model is being developed in the U.S., its prime market. Work is being split between the Honda R&D Americas operations in Los Angeles and Ohio.

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Ford Considering Downsized F-Series Pickup

But Detroit maker looks at car-based alternative.

by on Feb.22, 2013

Ford has yet to find a replacement for the old Ranger, which ended its long production run in 2011.

When Ford announced it would finally pull the plug on the long-lived Ranger compact pickup a few years back, many expected the maker would simply replace it with the all-new Ranger model it had develop for worldwide use, launching it into production in Thailand in 2011.

Surprisingly, Ford stressed it had no intention of offering a new Ranger in the U.S. market, insisting that for the price it would have to charge for the global Ranger model buyers would all but certainly opt for the bigger F-Series, long the American market’s most popular truck. Indeed, there’s been a steady shrinkage of the compact pickup segment over the years, buyers either upsizing or abandoning trucks entirely, Ford officials insist.

Auto News From a Source You Trust!

So how respond to General Motors’ decision to deliver an all-new Chevrolet Colorado, never mind the ongoing presence of the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier? By shifting into an entirely new direction, Ford officials hint, that was pioneered by Honda with its distinctive Ridgeline pickup.

In other words, what some are dubbing the Ford F-100 just might adopt a crossover, or car-based, platform, a senior marketing executive reveals. That might seem a surprise considering the mixed response the Honda Ridgeline has generated.

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