Honda Shifting North American Production on Strong Demand for SUVs
Acura MDX to Move to Ohio, Alabama Dedicated to Pilot, Ridgeline, Odyssey
Honda, the Japanese automaker that made its name in the U.S. market on the popularity of the Civic and Accord, is now getting the majority of its business from its light truck models, including the HR-V, CR-V, Pilot, Acura MDX, and Odyssey minivan. The automaker sees no signs of the shift in consumer preferences to SUVs changing anytime soon and is making changes to better meet demand in the North American market, Reuters reports. Year to date, Honda’s U.S. sales mix has been 59 percent light trucks and 41 percent passenger cars, up from the 55/45 mix in 2015.
Starting in early 2017, Honda’s Alabama plant will be dedicated to production of the Pilot midsize SUV, Ridgeline pickup, and Odyssey minivan. Production of the Acura MDX will move to Ohio. Lately, Honda has increased imports of the popular CR-V from Japan as plants in Indiana and Mexico struggle to keep up with demand. Honda’s recently introduced B-segment HR-V is built at Honda’s Mexico plant, which also builds the Fit subcompact. The company predicts that fuel prices will remain low for the foreseeable future, which bodes well for SUV sales. The oil-friendly policies expected under a Trump administration are likely to keep fuel prices low, ensuring a solid medium-term bet on SUVs and light trucks.