Trucks

Why the Honda Ridgeline Is Popular With Critics but Not Consumers

Honda tried to play with the big dogs when it unveiled the Ridgeline, but rather than following the tried and true method of a large truck with a simple cab, the Japanese automaker decided to be original. 

What consumers got was a small truck that drives more like an SUV. While critics love the out of the box thinking, consumers are consistently turning back to more traditional trucks for their towing needs.

While being original has paid off for more than one automaker, it doesn’t seem to be panning out for Honda. The question is, why? Let’s take a look at the facts and find out what went wrong for the Ridgeline.

Going original with the Honda Ridgeline

Traditional truck drivers like something more along the lines of the F-150. It’s big, it can tow more than any other truck in its class, and it’s made for working. 

Honda decided to go for something new and original with the Ridgeline, and the Japanese automaker certainly managed to do it. According to AutoTrader, there are no other trucks like the Ridgeline on the market.

Many critics like Yahoo Finance have given the Ridgeline the title of ‘party truck’ due to the smooth ride, speakers in the base of bed, and the CarPlay system. Most consumers aren’t interested in a truck to party in, however. That’s what limos are typically for. 

Honda appears to have learned from its mistakes and is trying to go a little more traditional. According to Consumer Reports,

“The original, innovative Ridgeline turned off many buyers because of its peculiar styling. The lessons have been learned. As a result, the second-generation Ridgeline looks much more conventional, while being even more sensible.”

Sales data for the Honda Ridgeline

According to Good Car, Bad Car the Honda Ridgeline isn’t selling well. In the third quarter of 2019, Honda only sold 8,378 trucks. That’s not a lot, especially when you compare it to the Ford F-Series, which sold 214,176 trucks.

The Nissan Titan and the GMC Canyon actually did worse in the third quarter, so the Ridgeline isn’t quite the worst-selling truck on the market at the moment. 

On a positive note, the Ridgeline only sold 7,816 trucks in the third quarter of 2018, so there was a sales growth of 7.2%. It was also the worst-selling truck in 2018, so there has definitely been some improvement.

Unfortunately, if you look at the data for the first three quarters of 2019, things begin to look a lot bleaker. In this case, the Honda Ridgeline came in second to last out of 13 trucks. 

The Jeep Gladiator sold the least amount of trucks with only 23,374. It’s important to note, however, that the Gladiator wasn’t even released for sale until February, when it sold a mere 70 trucks. Since then, the Gladiator has been steadily gaining sales, and is close behind the Ridgeline.

If the fourth quarter turns out like the first three quarters, then the Gladiator may very well outsell the Nissan Titan, the GMC Canyon, and the Honda Ridgeline.

In the first three quarters of 2019, the Nissan Titan has sold 25,412 trucks, the GMC Canyon sold 26,301, and the Honda Ridgeline sold 23,633. 

Given these incredibly depressing statistics, it’s easy to wonder why Honda continues to invest time and energy to producing the Ridgeline, as well as the time, effort, and money it took to redesign it.

There’s also a great reason for it, however, and it revolves around the used truck market.

Used trucks

While it may seem like the Ridgeline is swiftly on its way to being a thing of the past, there is some hope for it yet.

According to Business Insider, the Honda Ridgeline is the fastest-selling used truck on the market. It may not be making headway in the new truck market, but its average time on the used car lot is a mere 39.3 days. That’s barely a month of sitting on a car lot before it’s snapped up. 

If you’re a fan of Ridgeline and are thinking of buying one used, you’d better move fast, because it might not be around for long.