Traditional truck guys don’t take the Honda Ridgeline seriously. After all, it’s a soft, unibody pickup that can’t tow a space shuttle or an M-4 Sherman. It turns out all those attributes make it attractive to quite a few people. Make fun of the Ridgeline all you want, but the new model snagged 10 percent of the midsize truck market in one year.
Ford, GM, Toyota, and Nissan should be scared. Bloomberg says the huge success of the Ridgeline could delay the reintroduction of the Ford Ranger to the US market. That Honda could have such an effect is impressive, plus enraging if you’re really looking forward to buying a new Ranger.
While automakers keep talking about all those rugged things you can do in midsize trucks, it turns out a fair amount of shoppers might not care. They like the comfortable ride quality that comes with a unibody, even if that means their truck can’t haul a boulder or tow a yacht. In reality, most people who have a pickup don’t even come close to the maximum payload and tow ratings.
Honda told Bloomberg it could’ve surpassed 10 percent of the midsize pickup market, but it didn’t have the manufacturing capacity to keep up. Sounds like that needs to change, and fast.
We should see the Ranger return to the US in 2019. It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out.