USA: Honda soon to reveal family-friendly pickup truck - report
Honda Motor is expected to reveal shortly its first pickup, a model that will be more suited to suburban shopping than working on the farm, analysts told Reuters.
The analysts reportedly said the pickup, which is expected to go into production at Honda's Alabama plant next year, is expected to be derived from the Pilot, a full-sized SUV that is based on the Odyssey minivan.
Unlike a traditional pickup, Honda's will have a short cargo bed behind a five-passenger compartment and car-like ride and handling, the analysts said, according to Reuters.
"It's not going to be your rugged, workhorse pickup," Joseph Barker, manager of North American sales analysis with industry consultants CSM Worldwide, told Reuters, adding: "It's going to be more driver friendly; it's going to cater to families."
Reuters said Honda could show the pickup truck on Thursday during its annual holiday party, where it traditionally unveils some concept and production vehicles. Officials have reportedly said that a couple of models will be shown again this year, and analysts expect one will be the truck.
Reuters said that, by deriving the pickup from the Pilot SUV, Honda will get a foothold in one of the largest segments of the US market without making costly investments in developing V8 engines and rugged frames for a typical pickup.
Nissan has recently launched a US designed and built V8-powered full-size pickup, called the Titan, to challenge models produced by Detroit's Big Three - Ford, GM and Chrysler. Toyota builds a smaller model called the Tundra in the US.
According to Reuters, Honda's new entries in the truck segment, in particular the Pilot, have helped boost its total US sales by 9.2% in the first 11 months this year.
Reuters noted that, as SUV and truck sales in the United States have continued to grow, the motor industry has experimented with crossovers between the two segments, with some success.
Ford's Ford Explorer Sport Trac, which has a small cargo bed behind the passenger compartment, has had strong sales since it was launched in 2000, while General Motors' Cadillac Escalade EXT and Chevrolet Avalanche pickups have short cargo beds that can be extended into the cab by folding down the rear seats and the back wall of the truck cab, behind the seats, the report said.
"I think all of the industry is going to be watching this (Honda) product," Barker told Reuters, adding: "If they're going to pull more families and women in with this product, then the others will likely follow."