LINCOLN, Ala. - The innovative, Alabama-built 2009 Honda Ridgeline pickup truck rolled off the assembly line today in Lincoln to the cheers of more than 1,200 associates at Honda Manufacturing of Alabama (HMA).
|Click for video of the Ridgeline line-off event|
The start of production of the Ridgeline in Alabama marks the first time for Honda to transfer total production of an existing model between two North American manufacturing plants. The Ridgeline pickup truck was introduced to the market in March 2005 as a 2006 model built at Honda of Canada Mfg. in Alliston, Ontario. In March 2008, Honda announced Ridgeline production would transfer from Alliston to Lincoln. This move allowed Honda to respond better to market demand by increasing Civic production at Honda of Canada Mfg.
“Today, we celebrate the start of mass production of the Ridgeline - the first Honda pickup truck to be built in ‘Sweet Home Alabama,’” said Hiroshi Sasamoto, president and CEO of Honda’s Alabama operations. “Transfer of the Ridgeline from Canada to Alabama in such a short period was a great challenge, but one that our associates have accomplished by working together as one team, with one goal - to build products of the highest quality for our customers.”
A brief celebration starting at 6:05 p.m. at the end of the assembly line marked the start of mass production of the Ridgeline in Alabama. The vehicle was driven off the line by Telly Head, of Columbiana. The first Alabama-built Ridgeline is a top-of-the-line RTL model in Sterling Gray Metallic, equipped with leather interior and navigation system.
HMA is now the exclusive global production source of three important Honda light truck vehicles: the Odyssey minivan; the Pilot sport utility vehicle; and the Ridgeline pickup. The Lincoln plant also produces the V-6 engines for each vehicle.
The Honda Ridgeline was updated for 2009 with a total of 50 significant changes and new features. Along with a more powerful engine, the Ridgeline features a trailer hitch as standard equipment and continues to be the only pickup truck available with a spacious In-Bed TrunkTM that provides hidden, dry and secure storage capable of swallowing luggage, toolboxes and coolers.
Capable of accommodating 4-foot-wide sheets of plywood between the wheel wells, the composite cargo bed has eight cargo tie-down points. “The Ridgeline brings together Honda’s vast experience with motorcycles, dirt bikes, ATVs, marine engines, personal water craft, power equipment and automotive products,” said Chuck Ernst, senior vice president at HMA.” The end result is we have a Ridgeline pickup truck that is designed to best meet the needs of people who take family, work and recreation seriously.”
HMA builds the Odyssey minivan on both Line 1 and Line 2. The Ridgeline has been added to Line 1 production, while the Pilot sport utility vehicle is built only on Line 2 at the $1.4 billion Lincoln facility. In mid-2009, HMA will add the V-6 Accord Sedan to its production lineup on Line 2.